Atlanta Practice ReportSaturday, February 23, 2013 | 5:40 PM
Practice is complete here in the Georgia Dome, and if you’re trying to figure out who is the favorite in the 450 class, good luck! We’re surprised the Monster “Beast” lap timing board didn’t break because it seemed like the top riders were shuffling the fastest times through every lap of each timed session. At different times, we saw Justin Barcia, Trey Canard, Eli Tomac, Ryan Villopoto, Davi Millsaps and James Stewart on top of the board, with the likes of Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed and Justin Brayton getting in the top five mix, as well. Nine riders had lap times within a second. You could make a logical argument that there are more riders capable of winning tonight’s main event than any supercross race in history—think about it.
Stewart ended up fastest overall. Despite his set back in last week’s main event with a mechanical problem, the #7 has definitely been getting stronger each week. He had another good week of riding leading into this one, and he was also on the track here for press day. Could things be lining up for another new winner on the season?
Let’s be honest, the start will make all the difference (and, speaking of the start, we hear Big James Stewart will not be packing James gate in the races tonight like he did last week in Dallas). The riders are so darned close that the race is essentially random—it’s impossible to predict a start, and hence it’s impossible to predict tonight’s finish.
Track is getting hard and slick here (erase any old memories of the Georgia Dome’s red clay getting soft and rutted). There are a few shiny spots that are very slippery. The whoops did break down, and a lot of riders were just jumping in and out of them. There’s also a sand turn, which, as always, is one-lined (everyone went inside in the first practice, so they built rollers on the inside for the next one, and then everyone went outside).
The separator? Could be a tricky rhythm lane that starts with a dragon’s back. The fast line is to launch off of that dragon back and over a double, and then triple-triple out of the section. But doubling off of the dragon’s back is hard to do consistently.
In the 250 class, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin is making a case today by topping both sessions. Last week’s winner, Dean Wilson, now sports the red plate and swapped fast times with Musquin all day. Could tonight be the night for the Frenchman’s first win?
OVERALL BEST LAP TIMES - QUALIFYING COMBINED
MONSTER ENERGY AMA SUPERCROSS
GEORGIA DOME - ATLANTA, GA
ROUND 8 OF 17 - FEBRUARY 23, 2013
Honda CRF 450
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