Mat Mladin’s domination of the superbike racing at California Speedway this weekend — on a bike in development for less than six months — gives us a glimpse of the superbike racing future. Next year, expect all of the major factories to field superbike race teams outfitted with the latest 1000cc four-cylinder machines homologated for street use.
When we broke the news with our interview of Don Sakakura on November 1, 2002 and November 2, 2002 that Suzuki would field GSX-R1000s this year, it was clear that Yoshimura was in a tremendous time crunch to develop a bike from the street legal 2003 GSX-R1000. In only its second superbike race this past weekend, that machine out-powered and out-handled every other bike in the field. Impressive.
Whether Mladin and Suzuki can show the same type of dominance throughout the remainder of this AMA Superbike series is yet to be seen, but, at this point, the new GSX-R1000-based superbike is setting the pace. It is also pointing the way toward the future of superbike racing both nationally and at the world championship level.