Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin celebrated his 64th career AMA Superbike victory by taking the win in Saturday afternoon's season-opening round of the series at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The six-time AMA Superbike Champion started the race from pole position and was joined by his teammates on the front row of the starting grid: defending, two-time AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies was in the second spot and two-time AMA Supersport Champion Tommy Hayden was in the third spot, having posted the fastest lap times on their respective Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000s. In the race, Mladin led all 15 laps to victory, while teammate Spies finished close behind in second place and Hayden wound up with an impressive fourth-place result.
"I got a good start and I put my head down," Mladin said post-race. "I knew we had a good motorcycle in the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 today and I knew we could run some fairly good lap times…we did what we had to do today to get the win."
Said Spies: "I got up into second, and it took a little bit to get the rhythm down. But once I got clear, I went as fast as I could. Besides the bad start, I made one little mistake the whole race. That's about it. I was pretty happy with how I rode. It's happened so many times before, but usually when Mat or I get out there, it's very hard to do anything about it. I tried to stay close in case he made any mistakes but second was the best we could do today."