Uh oh. James Stewart really turned it up in practice today, especially in the second practice session, where he went out and ran nearly a second faster than Ricky Carmichael in his best lap, and nearly a second faster in his second-best lap.
So that’s a scary thought. Carmichael was just two tenths off in the first session, but James turned it up in session two, and he looks great. But there’s another scary thought, too. After turning his fast times, Stewart crashed when he spun the rear wheel of his Kawasaki KX450 in a corner near home plate of the stadium, slid out and went down. He was okay, but it showed that all of that speed may come with a price.
Stewart crashed in a slippery corner. The turn off of home plate leads to a triple, and with everyone hammering their 450s hard to get out of that turn and hit the jump, a really slick groove developed coming out of the turn. Everyone was spinning and sliding out of it, but no doubt the line will either be fixed by tonight, or at least the riders will avoid it.
It’s strange that a flat, slippery corner could mean so much, but on this track, there really isn’t much else out there. The track has been toned down big time from the one you might have seen on the Racer X track map we posted earlier in the week. The very cool option section after the start, featuring one lane of jumps or and one lane of whoops, is gone, replaced by one wide set of rollers. These rollers are just like the ones before the finish line jump at Phoenix. They’re basically just a straight section to pro supercrossers like this.
It seems then that the race will come down to who handles the soil, which seems to be getting slicker and slicker, and will only get more slick as night falls here in Anaheim. The slick terrain, and not the obstacles, led to great racing in Phoenix, so maybe it will work here again.
One more word on Supercross class times: RC was second in both sessions, Reed was third in both. Ernesto Fonseca was fourth fastest both times. Remember, Ernie was flying for the first few laps at Anaheim 1.
Jeremy McGrath and David Vuillemin are both on CRF450s this weekend. Jeremy says he could have jumped a section on a 450 last week that he couldn’t on a 250. Vuillemin says his lap times were good on a 250, but he couldn’t put in those laps consistently 20 straight times.
In the Lites, Grant Langston was way out front in times. Andrew Short says his injured foot is feeling much better this time, though. He was right there along with Laninovich and Ramsey. On this slick track, maybe the consistent, smooth guys like Laninovich and Short will excel. You know how Ramsey likes to hang it out. There’s just no way to tell, this Lites class is going to be good all year.
That’s all from Angel Stadium. Make sure to listen to Supercross Live! starring the two greatest announcers in the history of announcing (Jim Holley and myself) tonight starting at 7 p.m. PST (10 p.m. EST) on supercross.cc.com. And then also watch the broadcast on CBS tomorrow at 10 a.m. PST (1 p.m. EST). I’m already bummed because I forgot to set my DVR to CBS instead of Speed. Don’t make the same mistake! That’s supercross on network TV, and it’s on before the NFL Championships, so you have no excuses – watch it!