10 Things to Watch: San DiegoFriday, February 10, 2012 | 1:00 PM
By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo
Rain or shine, Qualcomm Stadium has always been very good to Chad Reed. In fact, he’s won six out of the eight supercross class races he has entered there (Reed was injured in 2010 and did not race SD). If Reed takes yet another win this weekend, he’ll boast an amazing 77.78 win percentage in San Diego!
Return of the Whoops
In the first four rounds of competition this year, the whoops have been relatively tame. They got a bit crazier at A2, and the same should hold true tomorrow night in Qualcomm Stadium. According to the track map, San Diego will boast one long set of thirteen whoops. That’s more than enough for the riders to get their huck-a-bucks on!
Although Nico Izzi got off to somewhat of a slow start his year, he has been improving steadily. At A2, Izzi finally got off the gate well and took fifth, his best finish of the year. If he keeps improving at this rate, we might even see him battling for the podium as early as Saturday night.
Izzi is coming off his best finish of the season at A2. Can he challange for a podium in San Diego?
Photo: Simon Cudby
Starting in San Diego, SPEED’s live supercross coverage is back in a big way. Tomorrow’s race coverage kicks off a seven-race streak of live broadcasts that will continue all the way through Toronto, and it all starts tomorrow night on Speed at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Friese Heats Up
Before A2, MotoConcepts’ Vince Friese had been struggling, taking fifteenth, fourteenth, thirteenth and seventeenth place finishes. But at A2, he turned things around. After running up front and finishing fourth in his heat race, Friese carried that momentum into the main to finish eighth, his best result of the year so far. Can Friese keep it going this weekend in San Diego?
On the Rebound
Josh Hansen has been a rock for the injury ravished Dodge Hart and Huntington team. Beginning the year with four consecutive top ten finishes, Hansen had everyone salivating at the potential he could bring to the H&H team. But things came unraveled at Anaheim 2, as Hansen suffered a first lap crash and damaged his front brake in the process—leading to a seasons worst 20th. Having slid outside the top ten in points, Hansen is looking to regain his form in San Diego and break down the walls of the top ten again.
Hansen is looking to rebound in San Diego after his worst finish of the season at A2.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Looking for Redemption
Lost in the shuffle of Eli Tomac streaking towards his first career Lites title has been the struggles of Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. While most teams would be ecstatic with one win and four podiums (combined between Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray) through five rounds, Pro Circuit isn’t most teams. They want wins, and they want a lot of them. Now with Rattray on the mend with a neck injury, and Wilson struggling to find consistency, Pro Circuit is staring down the barrel of losing another Lites title to GEICO Honda (Justin Barcia toped Wilson for the Lites East title in 2011). Can Wilson stop the Tomac freight train in San Diego and salvage a season gone sideways?
Next in Line
Many have tried—Kevin Windham, Justin Brayton, Jake Weimer, Andrew Short, Brett Metcalfe, Davi Millsaps—but most have failed to solidify themselves as the top contender behind the “Fantastic Four.” Weimer started strong with his first career SX podium at Phoenix, but has since faded. Brayton also threw his hat into the ring early with a fourth at Anaheim 1, but followed it up with a very inconsistent stretch, before regaining his form with a fifth at A2. Windham, as always, has been there, but has become increasingly frustrated by not being able to lock down a podium. Short has also shown flashes of brilliance, but like the others has struggled with consistency. Same goes for Metcalfe and Millsaps. Windham currently sits fifth in points, but the way these guys have played musical chairs throughout the better part of the year, he may have a tough time holding down that spot. Who will be next to place their name in “Big Five” talks this weekend at San Diego?
Windham and Brayton, among others, are battling for fifth in points.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Too Early To Tell
At one point or another we have all been guilty of drinking the Kool-Aid of the hottest rider from week to week. But as last year showed it’s way (WAY) too early to crown a champion at this point in the race. With four bona-a-fide championship contenders sitting behind the starting line, it’s anyone’s game at this point. And hopefully we will be ringing this same sentiment at the final round in Vegas. For now, though, if Villopoto goes and leads every lap again, we're going to do our best to stay calm.
Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey hasn't had a chance to mix it up for a podium at the last two races, mostly because of bad starts. Have the likes of Villopoto, Stewart and Reed stepped up their game, or is the Dunge just a holeshot away from more KTM glory?
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When the lights go off on supercross and racing hits the daylight with the launch of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, everyone gets to start over. Page 110.