Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Mat Mladin celebrated his 73rd AMA Superbike victory by taking the win at Thursday's Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The six-time AMA Superbike Champion also captured the coveted pole position in the new Superpole procedure, taking his 56th career pole position.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Tommy Hayden qualified right behind Mladin and rode an impressive 15-lap race. Hayden got a rough start but worked his way up into third place. Right down to the wire, he was battling for second position and the final result was a photo finish with Hayden taking third.
The team's newest team member, Blake Young, started the season strong by carding an impressive fifth-place finish in his first AMA Superbike race with his new team.
"It was an interesting race, that's for sure. It's always nice to get any win, obviously, and with all the new stuff this year it was really nice to get one for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team and keep that Suzuki win streak alive. Now I'm looking forward t the next race at Fontana, and the boys will be getting home and doing a little work and doing a few things so we can go to Fontana and have a bit of a go."
"I felt like I was riding pretty good and my Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 was definitely working very well. Considering I got a little confused with the new starting process and was 10th off the line, this result is all right. Fortunately, I was able to get up to the front-runners pretty easily. And with Mat being a little wounded today, I thought this was my day to get a win but I came up a little bit short. We'll do a few things before the next race at Fontana and come back strong."
"I have to admit it would have been nice to be up on the podium with Mat and Tommy today, but since this is my first Superbike race on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000, and running new tyres and after very little testing, I'm OK with fifth place. But every day, I'm getting to know my new crew better and I know we'll come back for Fontana with a better bike and hopefully a better result."
Results: 1 Mat Mladin (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 2 Neil Hodgson (Honda), 3 Tommy Hayden (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 4 Larry Pegram (Ducati), 5 Blake Young (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 6 Ben Bostrom (Yamaha), 7 Aaron Yates (Jordan Suzuki), 8 Josh Hayes (Yamaha), 9 Michael Laverty (Suzuki), 10 Geoff May (National Guard Jordan Suzuki).