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Atlanta First Practice Report

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Lot’s going on here in Atlanta, the first of the real Monster Energy Supercross Eastern Region races for the season (Houston is not really in the east, people).

The ATL track returns to the classic football stadium layout after a few tight tracks over the last few weeks. There’s a long, long start straight running the fill length of the field, and the rest of the track is essentially made up of long rhythm lanes running the distance of the field. The whoops, which run along one of the outside lanes, aren’t that difficult, so handling the jump combinations best may be the dividing factor tonight.

And the start will be important, of course. When is it ever not?

Rumors were swirling coming into this race about San Manuel Red Bull Yamaha  Team Manager Larry Brooks. The word from several sources said he was no longer working for the team. This morning we tracked down James Stewart, and James claimed that Larry “wanted to spend some family time” and would not be at the race this weekend. We then asked James how much time family time would take, and James repeated ,“He’s just taking some family time.”

We’ll see. In the first seeded Lites practice, Ryan Sipes logged the fastest time with a 48.095, followed by Dean Wilson with a 48.535, Blake Baggett with a 48.721, Nico Izzi with a 49.147, and Blake Wharton with a 49.416. Houston winner Justin Barcia had a crash but got up okay—he wasn’t that fast in Houston practice, either, so don’t worry. Malcolm Stewart, Matt Lemoine, Jason Anderson, Barcia and Gannon Audette rounded out in the top ten.

The 450 bikes and the SX Class saw a see-saw battle at the top of the board, with Stewart putting his number up front early, then Chad Reed went into the 46s, then Ryan Dungey ended up with the fastest time, a 46.880 to Reed’s 46.906. Then came Stewart with a 47. 359, Canard with a 47.540 and Ryan Villopoto’s 47.932. Villopoto looked like he couldn’t get a clean lap in though due to traffic.

Metcalfe, Brayton, Short, Windham and Millsaps rounded out the top ten.

We’ll be back with more after the second practice sessions, which begin at 4 p.m.

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