LA Practice Report

January 22, 2011 8:35pm | by:
Good afternoon supercross fans, and welcome to this week’s practice report, coming to you from Dodger Stadium in Southern California, where t-shirts, shorts, and sunscreen are the order of the day. With two deep whoop sections, several bowl turns, and a cool section with different inside and outside obstacles, the track has the potential to provide some of the most interesting racing of the series so far. As previously mentioned, the sun is out and it’s warm here; a combination that’s drying the track out pretty quickly. The track crew is staying on top of things by periodically hosing down the dirt, but you can expect it to get pretty hard and dry by the time the heat races begin. Sometimes the moisture comes up at night, but I talked to the Dunlop guys and they aren’t expecting that to be a factor with this dirt. The sand section here is interesting; it’s not straight, but it’s not a pronounced corner either. It has a small S-turn in it, with a little jump built up on the end on the right side. Most of the fast guys are over-jumping the double right before it, and are clearing about a third of the section all together. It’s going to be interesting to see how this line develops throughout the night.

In free practice, Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Martin Davalos looked fast. He came out and cleared all the triples on the first lap (along with Josh Hansen), and rode hard for the majority of the session. In the first qualifying practice, he immediately turned the fastest lap, and stayed on top of the leader board the entire time. The second set of whoops is pretty big, and a lot of the riders spent plenty of time rolling through and getting a good look at them. Davalos and Hansen, however, were blitzing them right off the bat. Hansen’s whoop speed looks very good so far. When it was over, Davalos had a 53.278, followed by Hansen (53.420), Eli Tomac (53.629), Broc Tickle (53.763), and Kyle Cunningham (53.979). Ken Roczen finished the practice in seventh with a 54.166. He was still walking with a slight limp during track walk this morning, and it’s possible his bruised heel could still be affecting him.

The second Lites session started out similar to the first, with Davalos jumping to the top of the board on his first lap out. Kyle Cunningham knocked him out of the lead for a few laps, but it wasn’t long before Davalos and Hansen set faster times. Toward the end of the session, Davalos had a nasty looking crash coming out of the first whoop section, but he was able to dust himself off and continue with practice. Hansen ended up setting the fastest time with a 53.438, while Davlos’ 53.875 was good enough for second. Roczen improved his laps to 53.875, which put him in in third.

The first few laps of 450 practice saw Ivan Tedesco, Justin Brayton, and Trey Canard all trading fast times right away. After a few laps however, Villopoto laid down a 52.667, which would stand until he beat it a few laps later with a 52.529. James Stewart waited a little while to put in his fast lap, but when he did, it was an impressive 51.557, about a second faster than RV’s time. Villopoto responded by shaving his time down to 52.185, but wasn’t able to match Stewart’s time. Dungey was riding well in practice, but it looked like he was having a hard time getting in a solid lap. He was interrupted more than once by yellow flags and riders getting in the way while he trying to put in a good lap. Stewart’s time of 51.557 stood, followed by RV’s, 52.185, Trey Canard’s 52.567, and Ryan Dungey’s 52.761.

Canard started the second 450 session on top, but it was none other than Dungey who knocked him out of the top spot a few laps later. For a while, the top five guys were all within a half second of one another, until Stewart put his head down and laid down the fastest time, an amazing 51.889. Stewart looks like he is enjoying himself, and when he wasn’t setting the fastest laps, he was pulling huge whips for the crowd. If Stewart is feeling it, the competition better hope he doesn’t start well.

That’s it from qualifying here in Los Angeles. Make sure to keep it locked on Racer X Online, and follow @racerxonline on Twitter for live updates on the action.