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Daytona Practice Report

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The rain that wasn’t supposed to come came to Daytona—and it went big. The riders logged their untimed free practice session and then the skies opened. That’s the worst-case scenario since the bikes had churned up the track, allowing the water to soak right in.

The AMA canceled the second practice session. This left just one timed session for each group at the regular 3:45 starting time. Considering the course had absorbed nearly an hour of rain—and even more yesterday—the track didn’t look too bad. Riders were jumping the jumps. But there’s only so much we can know from standing beside the track and watching. So we asked Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer what he thought.

“It’s pretty gnarly,” he said. “Gnarly. There’s standing water in spots, and deep ruts. It’s gnarly.”

But the riders are still jumping the triples. Still scrubbing and whipping over the finishline jump. How bad could it really be, Jake? “That’s what makes it worse,” he explained. “It’s really gnarly, but not so gnarly that you can’t jump anything. So it’s really muddy but we have to jump the jumps, too.”

We’ll see how it goes. There are still clouds overhead. Wait, we just heard it's raining again. Wow.

James Stewart was the fastest of the SX class by a long, long way. He logged a 1.21.9 to second-place Kevin Windham’s 1.24.4 and Ryan Villopoto’s 1.24.5. That’s three seconds faster than anyone else. Stewart also jumped the Gator Pit jump that he did last year on the very first lap of practice, however, he couldn’t do it in the mud. And while he was fast in the mud, the track was—as Weimer said—pretty gnarly. Anything could happen out there.

Justin Brayton, Broc Tickle, Weimer, Kyle Chisholm and Nick Wey rounded out the top ten.

In the Lites class, weather or track conditions don’t matter to Justin Barcia, he’s still crushing it. His 1.26.0 time bested Blake Baggett’s 1.26.8 and Ken Roczen’s 1.27.0. PJ Larsen and Blake Wharton rounded out the top five, with Darryn Durham, Justin Bogle, Alex Martin, Austin Politelli and Jake Canada rounding out the top ten.

And people are pumped over the performance of Ricky Renner. He qualified a solid 22nd in the Lites Class on his YZ125, easily putting himself into the night show. His brother Ronnie is spinning the wrenches, but says his job is easy because if something breaks, no one will even have any two-stroke parts for him to fix the bike with.

That's all. Let's go racing--be sure to tune into SPEED's live coverage at 7:30 eastern.

 

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