10 Things to Watch For at FreestoneFriday, May 27, 2011 | 3:00 PM
This weekend the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross tour heads east to Texas for the second round of Pro Motocross. The 450 and 250 first motos will air LIVE on FUEL TV and Allisports.com on Saturday at 2:00 pm (EST), second motos will also air on Saturday on SPEED beginning at 10:00pm EST. You can count on the Racer X Online team to lead the way in live updates, Twitter reports, and videos. Here are 10 things to watch for in Freestone.10. RV’s Condition: With three Lites-class AMA Motocross crowns and this year’s AMA Supercross Championship under his belt, Ryan Villopoto has earned a few mulligans for the new season. He could go winless through the first half of the season before there’s any real alarm—his credentials make him a potential race winner no matter what. So there’s no panic in Greenville. Still, he needs to get healthy to go win, eventually, or we’ll all start to wonder.
9. GEICO Rebound: Eli Tomac salvaged points in Hangtown, Justin Barcia did not, but most importantly, neither had the pace of their Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki rivals. They’ll need it, quickly, or they’ll be down in points like their old teammate Trey Canard was last year.
The jury is still out on Pourcel.
8. The Frenchmen: Jury is still out for Christophe Pourcel on a 450 and Marvin Musquin on a 250. CP showed speed in practice and early in the first moto. But that was it. Will he get better as he gels with his new machine, class and team? As for Musquin, there wasn’t anything wrong with his riding, he just crashed in the second turn of the second moto. Watch the #125—he could be battling for a win shortly.
7. Patterson versus Fiolek: Same story, different year. Europe’s Steffi Laier got into the mix with the dynamic duo at Hangtown, but she is not competing in the full WMX series and won’t be in Texas. Patterson and Fiolek have battled hard here at this track before. Fiolek even pushed so hard that she was, ahem, losing her lunch after the first moto—but still came back to challenge in moto two. This should be fun to watch.
6. Heat is on: Forecast says 97 degrees on Saturday. ‘Nuff said.
5. KTM SX RnD: Not a good day for Red Bull KTM’s 450 class effort. Mike Alessi crashed out in practice, and Andrew Short was fighting bike problems all day. He nursed it home for some points in one moto, but scored zero in moto two. The Orangemen will be working hard to get this stuff fixed this weekend.
4. Rattray and Wilson: Clearly the strongest men in the heat of Texas last year, they didn’t start too badly in Hangtown, either. Expect to see them up front. But don’t expect to see Wilson pull over for anyone this time!
3. Whoops, sand, and the rest: Hangtown and Freestone are complete opposites in so many ways. Ruts and chop and hills from NorCal will be replaced with a flatter track, with a sandier soil that will get rough in its own (totally different) way. With the supercross tour coming down to the wire in every class, teams may have been late with testing for Hangtown. And just as soon as they got a handle on that, they’ll have to change it all again!
2. Double Baggett: Double bad news for everyone in the 250 class: Blake Baggett completely destroyed the field in the latter laps of both Hangtown motos. After the race, he said he was going to work on his early-race speed and starts so he’ll be faster, earlier. Uh oh! And, the results don’t show it, but Blake was absolutely flying in Texas last year before his bike let go. Uh oh, too!
1. The Red Plate: Reed versus the Dunge. Technically, they’re tied in points, so technically, they’re both supposed to run the red plate. Maybe by the end of he day, a singular leader will emerge.
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