In a stunning end to the Suzuki weekend at Road Atlanta on Sunday, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin clinched his third record-breaking AMA Superbike Championship by taking an unprecedented sixth title.
And team mate Aaron Yates carded his first Superbike win of the season while Ben Spies came in a close second to Yates.
"It was a good year for us," said Mladin. "And Suzuki delivered a motorcycle that made life a lot easier than last year. As I've said all along, the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is an amazing motorcycle."
Mladin had a record-breaking qualifying session in that he not only broke the track record with a time of 1:21.685, but he is also the first AMA Superbike rider to capture every pole position in a single season -- that's 10 for the season and 47 for his career total.
His Yoshimura Suzuki team mates qualified closely behind him on the front row, with Spies in the second spot with a 1:23.161 and Yates in third with a 1:23.242.
The 25-lap race started late on Sunday afternoon and was almost immediately red-flagged after a rider crashed. The riders were re-gridded for a full re-start and although Spies got the holeshot, Yates took over the lead almost immediately. The duo led the race entirely.
"What can I say? Let's give it up for the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000," announced Yates from the podium. "It was a good day and a good race. We got a good start out there and I think I was a little stronger in a couple of spots and I just tried to take advantage of the opportunities -- then I sort of got into cruisin' mode. It's just really great to get the race win for Suzuki."
Spies rode hard and consistently and made a few runs at Yates. But after 25 laps, he maintained a strong second. "I wish there's been no red flag," said Spies. "But I just did the best that I could and tried to be conservative and get on the podium."
Mladin got a bad start and worked his way through traffic. With his sixth championship in mind, he rode a conservative race and finished fourth.
Mladin's five previous AMA Superbike titles came aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 in 2004 and 2003 and aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750 in 2001, 2000 and 1999.
AMA Superbike Top 10 Finishers:
1. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
3. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
4. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
5. Jake Zemke (Honda)
6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
7. Jason Pridmore (Jordan Suzuki)
8. Eric Bostrom (Ducati)
9. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
10. Steve Rapp (Jordan Suzuki)
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office