Mladin Will Be Missed… By Some
Friday, August 7, 2009
is a figure that elicits strong opinions from racing fans. And now that the most prolific Superbike racer in AMA history has announced his retirement – effective at the conclusion of this season – it makes a fan wonder what Mladin’s legacy will be.
Mat Mladin will finish his AMA Superbike career with his seventh championship, this time in American Superbike.
Surely, he will be remembered as the dominator of American Superbike racing during the ’00s, double ohs, oughts… or whatever we end up calling the decade between 2000 and 2010. Mladin, the man who sold so many GSX-R1000
s (not to mention GSX-R600
s) that Suzuki
will remember the millions he was paid as one of its wisest investments. On the other side of the coin, Mladin critics will argue – why never step up and challenge in World Superbike or MotoGP (like the young bucks who actually beat him – Ben Spies and Nicky Hayden)?
And then there is the question about his leaving the sport, in obvious disgust over the way Superbike
racing in America has been changed by the Daytona Motorsports Group’s takeover of AMA racing. The funny thing about the DMG takeover is that it was brought about, in large part, because of the absolute domination of Mladin and the Yoshimura Suzukis. Over two years without a rider besides Mladin or Spies even close to sniffing for a victory! The sport grew tedious, even though Mladin and Spies put on incredible championship battles.
Hopefully Mladin sticks around the sport in some capacity, as even his critics have always respected his talent and experience. His outspoken candor (especially after his discovery of blogging and Twitter) is refreshing in an industry where canned quotes thanking sponsors and praising the bike and team are der rigueur.
Mladin will be missed by many fans, though we doubt the DMG will be counted in those ranks…
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