Welcome to the first outdoor practice report of the year, coming to you from the Hangtown Motocross facility in Northern California. The fans couldn’t ask for more; from the unseasonably cool (for California) temperatures, to the stacked classes, to the beautifully prepped track, the factors are in place to produce an explosive first round in what could be a season for the ages.
Even though the first gate hasn’t even dropped yet, the fireworks have already started. After setting the fastest lap time in practice by almost an entire second over Chad Reed, KTM’s Mike Alessi suffered a horrific crash when he went over the bars on what looked like a seat-bounce gone wrong. Alessi hit his head hard enough to knock himself out for a considerable amount of time, and incurred what his wrench, Kelly Lumgair, described as “a pretty good concussion.” Needless to say, Alessi will not be racing today, and could miss a few more rounds in the future. In third was Kevin Windham with 2:06.936, followed by Christophe Pourcel (2:07.312), Davi Millsaps (2:07.485), Ryan Villopoto (2:07.544), Brett Metcalfe (2:07.816), Ryan Dungey (2:07.839), Tommy Hahn (2:08.543) and Jake Weimer (2:09.653).
In the 250 class, it was French newcomer Marvin Musquin who set the fastest time with a 2:08.317, but Justin Barcia wasn’t far behind with a 2:08.848. Barcia said that he wasn’t pushing it in practice, and has more speed he can tap into if necessary. Dean Wilson was third fastest with a 2:09.344, with Eli Tomac (2:09.580) and Ryan Sipes (2:10.306) rounding out the top five.