22 October 2004
Mladin rules out MotoGP, WSBK.
Newly crowned five-times AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin has stated that he's unlikely to return to premier-class GP racing - and has no interest in World Superbikes.
The Australian, who has won all five titles - an AMA record - with the Yoshimura Suzuki team, believes that he will end his career in America, but confesses that MotoGP still holds a fading attraction.
"I'd imagine that I'd finish my racing career here in the US," confirmed Mat, who rode a Cagiva in the 1993 500cc world championship. "The GP thing has always interested me since I was there in '93, but certainly even less the more years that we go along, because it is one of those things where you really do need the right package, bike and team, or else you are wasting your time.
"There are only so many factory bikes to go around and the unfortunate thing is that I'm unlikely to get one. Honda have already stated that they will only have two official factory bikes in MotoGP (in 2005) and the rest will be the next step down," added Mladin, who tested a Suzuki GSV-R at Sepang earlier this year and lapped within 2-3secs of Kenny Roberts Jr and John Hopkins.
But while a lack of competitive machinery may bar a GP return, Mladin would surely have no problem securing a first class ride in the World Superbike championship – but says the series simply doesn't interest him and thinks it would be 'a huge step backwards'.
"As for World Superbike, it just doesn't interest me full stop," said the straight-talking Aussie. "The level of racing I don't think is that high. To have to travel around the world to say that you race in World Superbike does not appeal to me.
"I see it as a huge step backwards to what I'm doing here in America. The rules between WSBK and the AMA may be slightly different, but the teams here still get the very latest equipment from the factories, so on that score this series is very strong."
Mladin backed up his view by pointing towards the performance of 2004 WSBK runner-up Regis Laconi at the final round of the AMA championship at Virginia.
"To give you an idea, we had factory (Ducati) rider Regis Laconi race here at the final round last weekend, straight after being a title contender in the WSBK a week earlier and he couldn't get within a second of our times," explained Mladin. "The AMA is not an easy series by any stretch of the imagination."
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