Excuse me for discussing this one day after Mat Mladin won his second straight AMA Superbike Championship for Suzuki. I can’t help thinking, however, that next year will be much harder for Mat. Mat’s been the one on the tried and tested bike, fighting the youngster (Nicky Hayden) on the new, untested machine.
Suzuki’s racing platform will switch over to the new GSX-R750 next year — at this level, new chassis geometry and new motor characteristics mean new settings and new gearing for every track. The first year with a new bike is always hit and miss — just as it was with Honda’s RC51 this year (just ask Miguel Duhamel).
I don’t know about you, but Nicky Hayden and the RC51, with a year under their belt, sound almost unbeatable. Nicky won four races on a machine that rarely handled up to its potential (again, ask Miguel Duhamel). In fact, it was a bucking bronco at some circuits.
Mat is certainly a great rider, but the game will definitely be tougher next year.