AMA Pro Racing denies Mladin appeal

Ben Spies wins third straight championship

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 08, 2008
AMA Pro Racing has denied Mat Mladin’s appeal of his disqualification from the Aug. 16-17 Virginia International Raceway races, making Ben Spies the 2008 AMA Superbike champion.

In a brief statement, AMA Pro Racing says Mladin’s appeal was “deemed without merit and has been denied”.

Mladin was initially named provisional winner of a pair of AMA Superbike races at VIR but his Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 failed post-race inspections due to an illegal crankshaft. After comparing the crankshaft from Mladin’s bike to those on production models, AMA Pro Racing ruled Aug. 20 that Mladin’s crankshaft did not comply with homologation rules. 

AMA Pro Racing has brought Mat Mladin's championship hopes to a quick halt.With AMA Pro Racing’s decision, Mladin’s championship hopes have come to a rest, as his rival and Suzuki teammate wins his third straight AMA Superbike title.

American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Racing released a statement following the decision saying they were “shocked and dismayed” by the dismissal of Mladin’s appeal.

“Both companies believe the decision is arbitrary and unreasonable, and flagrantly ignores the letter and spirit of the AMA rules,” says Team Suzuki in a press release.

Unlike the dramatic finish to the 2007 championship which was decided by a single point in the final race, Ben Spies' 2008 title was decided not on the track but in a post-race inspection.In particular, Team Suzuki objected surround the timing of AMA Pro Racing’s decision, saying it came less than 30 minutes after the appeal documents were submitted. Team Suzuki submitted its documentation shortly before the 5 pm deadline on Aug. 30. Shortly after the deadline, AMA Special Projects Manager Bill Syfan notified Team Suzuki that an appeal board would not be convened. Within an hour, AMA Pro Racing released a statement announcing that Mladin’s appeal was denied.

“It makes us question the integrity behind the enforcement of the rules and suggests that there was never an intention to assemble an appeal board to conduct an objective and impartial hearing,” says a spokesperson for Yoshimura Racing. “From all appearances, the AMA had clearly made its decision well before 5:00 pm. The ‘deadline’ was obviously a ruse to create the impression of fairness.”

Yoshimura Racing’s statement will likely fuel speculation from conspiracy theorists that AMA Pro Racing’s decision to disqualified Mladin was politically motivated. The six-time AMA Superbike champion has been one of the most vocal critics of AMA Pro Racing’s new management. Mladin’s teammates Spies and Tommy Hayden also had their machines inspected following the VIR races, but only Mladin’s GSX-R1000 crankshaft was examined.

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