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Practice Report: St. Louis

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Practice is complete here in St. Louis. We may have a angry red head on our hands, as Ryan Villopoto has been railing his Monster Energy Kawasaki around the Edward Jones Dome floor (and over the jumps) and took the fastest lap times in both timed sessions today. His corner speed is ridiculous, and that overcomes any of the creative stuff riders are doing in the other sections.

The track features the typical great St. Louis dirt, and may offer some options in the first rhythm lane. Riders can go triple-triple if they go way outside in the first turn, but they probably lose so much time in the corner that it’s better to single-double from the inside. We’ll see if this becomes a passing spot later. The whoops are fast and tightly spaced. There’s a second short whoop section that a few riders, like Kevin Windham and James Stewart, managed to jump right over by hitting the first whoop hard. In the final practice, Stewart was logging a fast lap and jumped the whoops, then jumped the next double before the finish. But he washed out in a corner and fell before he could record a fast time. He also had another lap that looked to be fast, but he slowed right before the finish—we’re hearing some riders are purposely holding back their best time to try to plan which heat race they will be in.

But then you can watch Villopoto in a few different turns, like the corner after the finish that hooks back to the start straight, and see that no one might be able to top him, anyway.

Although Ryan Dungey was close—just a tenth off. RD is supposed to be dealing with a shoulder injury coming into the race after a crash during the week, but it sure doesn’t look it.

In the final SX session, RV ran a 50.4 ahead of Dungey’s 50.5, Windham’s 50.8, Justin Brayton’s 51.52 and Marvin Musquin’s 51.58. Musquin is riding the KTM 350 and has looked very strong in his SX class debut. Stewart, Seely, Wey Millsaps and Chisholm rounded out the top 10 in that session.

In the first session, Villopoto topped stewart by two tenths, with Brayton, Dungey and Windham rounding out the top five.

In Lites, Justin Bogle is proving to be a quick study, throwing down a late fast lap in the final timed Lites session to take first overall in the class. Not bad for race number three. His 51.6 just edged his teammate Justin Barcia’s 51.7 and Ken Roczen’s 51.9. Darryn Durham and Kyle Cunningham rounded out the top five of practice, but Durham crashed right at the end of the second session—we’ll have to check and see if he’s okay.

Blake Baggett was sixth, but he explained last week that he never does well in practice. In Atlanta, he turned the ninth fastest time into second in the main event, so sixth is actually good! Jake Canada was seventh ahead of PJ Larsen, Blake Wharton and Malcolm Stewart

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