AMA explains Mladin disqualification
AMA Pro Racing has issued the following statement from Roy Janson, AMA Pro Racing vice president of competition, regarding the disqualification of Mat Mladin, riding the No. 6 Suzuki, from the Superbike races at Virginia International Raceway on August 16-17, 2008, and the denial of the subsequent appeal of that disqualification:
The technical rules for AMA Superbike events were developed to create a competition environment that utilizes modified production machines that are available to all competitors with replacement parts that are available through a national distribution network of franchised dealers. While the AMA Superbike rules allow for some aftermarket items to be used in Superbike competition, such as front and rear suspension units, some parts are explicitly required to be used in their stock/production form to help to control the costs of competing in this class and to ensure that key competition components are available equally to all competitors.
The AMA Pro Racing vehicle homologation procedure requires that each motorcycle manufacturer or distributor submit samples of controlled parts as a means to establish the legality of each part and to provide control samples of these regulated parts, which are available at each event for comparison purposes during the post event technical inspection process to determine if the specified stock/production parts are used as required.
The AMA Superbike rules specifically require that crankshafts be stock/production items and the decision as to the legality of such specific parts is based upon a comparison to the controlled stock/production parts that are supplied by each manufacturer or distributor.
From the onset of this matter regarding the crankshaft of the #6 Suzuki at post-event technical inspection following the event at Virginia International Raceway, it was clear, simply from a visual inspection by the AMA Pro Racing Technical staff, that the part in question differed significantly from the control sample provided by the motorcycle distributor.
To ensure that the examination process of the crankshaft was thoroughly conducted, the #6 crankshaft and the control sample were returned to the AMA Pro Racing headquarters so that additional examination could be conducted to confirm that the part was not a stock crankshaft. To support this process, AMA Pro Racing also obtained two additional, new crankshafts from the distributor's parts distribution system, to use as additional comparison units, along with the control sample that was supplied by the same distributor, as required during the homologation process for the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000.
While the three stock/production crankshaft samples provided by the motorcycle distributor were all consistent in their appearance, mechanical dimensions and surface finish, the #6 crankshaft differed significantly from these stock/production items in each of these areas. This was also the case when the part from the #6 Suzuki was compared to several other 2008 Suzuki machines, campaigned by other teams and riders that were subsequently inspected by AMA Pro Racing since the VIR event.
In addition, the material content of the control crankshaft and the crankshaft from the #6 machine were subjected to independent testing, which identified further inconsistency between the #6 crankshaft and the stock/production control part submitted by the distributor.
Throughout this examination process, the team representatives for the #6 Suzuki were informed that it was the responsibility of the team to demonstrate conclusively that the part in question was a stock/production part, available to all participants through normal retail outlets throughout the United States. While the entrants of the #6 Suzuki and the motorcycle distributor supplied several responses during this inquiry, none of this material supported the suggestion that the crankshaft from the #6 Suzuki was a stock/production part.
AMA Pro Racing has provided this team ample opportunity to answer the simple question regarding this particular part, which is whether or not the #6 crankshaft is a stock/production part, similar to the sample parts provided by that same company, and whether or not this part was currently available to other riders or teams through their national dealer network. Nothing was provided by this company to support the position that the #6 crankshaft was a stock/production part, nor was any information provided that demonstrated that this part was available to any other teams.
The AMA 2008 rulebook allows for the updating of parts by manufacturers in section 2.2 "Superseded Parts", which allows manufacturers and distributors to update "parts controlled by these rules", when through normal manufacturing changes a new part is developed to replace a currently approved part. The team does not claim in any of its supporting documents that the crankshaft is an updated or superseded part.