Seattle Final Practice Report

Seattle Final Practice Report

April 16, 2011 8:15pm
Normally on a rutted track, you expect conditions to just keep getting worse and lap times to keep getting slower. Not the case here—the track continues to dry out in Seattle, and after some solid track prep work, times are better after the second practices than the first.

The Lites class is totally wide open, with completely different names at the top of the board this time than last. Kyle Cunningham topped the board with a 53.42, Cole Seely (53.53), Martin Davalos (53.97), Josh Hansen (54.63), and Broc Tickle (54.65) rounded out the top five. But Hansen had a crash in the whoops after he logged his fast lap, and may have reinjured his hand. He walked off up the pit tunnel without getting back on his bike.

Eli Tomac (54.90) Tyla Rattray (55.48) Ryan Morias (55.85) Nick Paluzzi (56.15) and Travis Baker (56.33) rounded out the top ten. Jimmy Decotis is out for the night after dislocating his elbow in the first practice.

It’s worth noting that Cunningham’s 53 was over two seconds faster than the fastest Lites lap of the first session, Tickle’s 55.9.

The biggest news came the SX Class. James Stewart was holding the fastest time through most of the session, but Kevin Windham logged a late fast lap to take the overall fastest time of the day at 52.035. Stewart was right behind with a 52.038. It’s the first time all season where Windham has logged the fastest time in qualifying.

Windham was interviewed on the floor after the session and immediately declared “That track is brutal.”

And it is, even though it has dried out a bit. It’s still going to be a rutted mess out there, especially as the laps go by in the main event. The whoop section is really just a line of rutted rollers, a few corners are one-lined ruts on the inside, and we haven’t seen anyone try to make time with a difficult new jump combination. This track will simply require riders staying up for the entire race, first, before they can challenge for the win.

Ryan Dungey was third fastest with a 52.719, Andrew Short was fourth with a 52.809, and Ryan Villopoto logged a 52.878. Chad Reed was next with a 52.931, Tommy Hahn had a 53.005, Austin Stroupe a 53.290, Davi Millsaps a 53.438 and Mike Alessi a 53.740.