Yesterday at the pre-race press conference, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed said that the outdoor Nationals have been difficult for him in the past, but perhaps that has all changed, as he posted the quickest lap times in the 450cc class at Glen Helen Raceway. Despite having little testing and outdoor riding time, Reed was a tick faster than Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto in the second and final practice session, Reed posting a best-lap time of 2:35.751 and Villopoto a best 2:35.850. In the first session, Reed was nearly two seconds quicker than Villopoto.
Not far behind is Reed’s Suzuki teammate Mike Alessi, who posted a 2:36.349 for the third-best time. Overall, times are quite close with about 15 riders all within five seconds of Reed, including Josh Grant, Andrew Short, Cody Cooper, Justin Brayton, Ivan Tedesco, Davi Millsaps, Nick Wey and Jason Lawrence.
In the 250cc class, it was another Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider heading the leaderboard, Ryan Dungey. His best time (in the second session) was a 2:37.766. Next best was GEICO Powersports/Honda’s Justin Barcia, the rookie who is making his pro debut. Barcia posted a 2:38.814.
A number of riders are in the :39s, including MX2 World Champion Tyla Rattray, Austin Stroupe, Brett Metcalfe, Blake Wharton, and Trey Canard.
East Supercross Champion Christophe Pourcel recorded a 2:40.276.
The Glen Helen track is long, rough and challenging. Deep ruts are already swallowing up the bikes in the soft turns, and there are a few large triples that few riders are attempting, especially in the 250cc class.
Weather conditions are ideal, cool and sunny, though temperatures could increase to the low-to-mid 80s later this afternoon.
Of note, Kevin Windham is not riding. Windham was hoping to secure a deal to ride the outdoor Nationals but things did not pan out, however, his GEICO Powersports/Honda team did say that he might ride a couple of rounds before the series is over.