Another excellent photo in the Alan Sessarego series (website). Having built an AMA Superbike dynasty over the years, it’s hard to imagine that Yoshimura Suzuki didn’t always field a successful Superbike effort.
Such was the case in 1995. In spite of having former champs Fred Merkel and Thomas Stevens on the squad, they struggled to find the podium. In fact, during the entire season the team, which consisted of Merkel, Stevens and a young Donald Jacks, only found the Superbike podium twice.
Stevens started the season off on a positive note, taking a third in the Daytona 200. After that it got a lot tougher for the ’91 AMA Superbike Champion. He struggled to finish inside the top 10 and ended up the season ranked 10th in the 1995 final standings.
Merkel, a three-time AMA and twice World Superbike Champion, did a little better. He too only scored a single podium in ’95 (at Mid-Ohio), but generally finished fifth or sixth fairly consistently and managed fourth in the final standings, even after crashing out of the final round of the season in Phoenix, an accident that ended his pro career.
Yoshimura Suzuki picked up Aussie Mat Mladin the next year and the rest, as they say, is history.