Welcome to the practice report from the sixth round of Monster Energy Supercross here in San Diego. Despite some rain that fell here early in the morning, the track is looking great, and thanks to Qualcomm Stadium’s large floor area, the lanes are nice and long. The whoop section is made up of fifteen whoops, which is longer than average, and is followed by a small triple, although many of the riders are doubling it, and using the final hump as a single to slow down for the ensuing corner. A reverse dragon’s back and triple jump follow. The rhythm lanes are also interesting, with several fast options that could provide some great passing opportunities. One thing absent from this track is the sand section, although it isn’t likely to be missed by most of the riders.
When the Lites rolled out for the first qualifying session, it was Cole Seely who set the fastest first lap, but it wasn’t long before Nico Izzi jumped to the top of the board with a 48.154. Dean Wilson meanwhile, who had spent the first few laps cruising, catapulted himself from the slowest time to the fastest with a 47.418 heater. When the session ended, Wilson was the only rider to have beaten that time. His fastest lap was a 47.356, followed by Eli Tomac (47.456), Martin Davalos (47.784), Seely (48.035), Marvin Musquin (48.086), Jason Anderson (48.129), Nico Izzi (48.154) Matt Moss (48.586), Gavin Faith (48.778) and Travis Baker (48.915). Billy Laninovich and Vince Friese both saw their fastest laps get deleted after exceeding sound limits.
In the second Lites qualifier, Seely took control early once again by turning a 48.155, but Izzi quickly bested him with a 47.964. From there, the lead was passed around between Izzi, Seely and Wilson like a jug of Metamucil in a retirement home until Tomac dropped the hammer. It’s obvious Tomac is feeling it tonight; he’s jumping rhythm combos that none of the other Lites riders are attempting, he’s the only Lites rider to clear the triple following the whoops, and he even attempted to quad into a rhythm lane, although he ended up casing it. His efforts earned him the fastest lap time (46.450), followed by Wilson (46.772), Davalos (47.133), Anderson (47.293) and Seely (47.423). Wilson does have some impressive speed through the whoops, though, which is key since the section is so long.
James Stewart kicked off the first 450 qualifier by shooting to the top of the board with a 47.525. Villopoto topped Stewart’s time on his third lap with a 47.525, only to see Stewart immediately retaliate with a 46.264. Villopoto would eventually dip into the 46-second range, but was unable to match Stewart’s fastest lap. When the qualifier ended, Stewart’s 46.264 was fastest, followed by Villopoto (46.929), Chad Reed (47.276), Ryan Dungey (47.281), Jake Weimer (47.306), Davi Millsaps 47.527, Josh Hansen (47.673), Justin Brayton (47.745) Kevin Windham (47.895) and Andrew Short (48.119). Both Davi Millsaps and Austin Stroupe’s fastest laps were deleted for exceeding sound limits.
Villopoto was fastest in the final practice session.
In the final 450 qualifying session, Stewart was again fast right off the bat, setting a 46.708 time. Shortly thereafter, Brayton went over the bars in a rhythm section, prompting a red flag. It was an ugly crash, and it looked as though Brayton might have injured his leg. We’ll report more on this situation as information becomes available. When practice resumed, Stewart beat his own time before Villopoto edged him by six thousandths of a second. When the session ended, Villopoto had recorded the fastest lap with a 46.374, followed by Stewart (46.380), Reed (46.506), Windham (46.858), and Ryan Dungey (46.975). Check out how close the top five times are!
Despite not being the fastest qualifier, Reed looks very fast. His flow is great, he’s experimenting with different rhythm lines, and he seems like he’s riding in attack mode, which isn't always the acse for Reed in practice. Dungey on the other hand seems like he’s tiptoeing around the track, although his best lap was still quite fast. The whoops in particular seemed to be giving him a tough time.
So far, there is a pretty positive vibe regarding the track. Chad Reed expressed his thoughts with the following tweet: “When you think someone could do better tell em. When they do a good job praise them. Great job this week dirt Werx.” If it stays dry, the riders should have an excellent surface to race on for the night show.
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