Supercross is off and running in Oakland and shows promise of a evening of tense and tight racing – if the timed qualifying practice on this overcast, almost cold, afternoon is any indication. The track is fast, with the best lap times under 46 seconds. Conditions are helped by the heavy marine layer that has enveloped the Coliseum. The dirt stays moist, there’s no dust.In the first timed qualifying session, Team San Manuel’s James Stewart put in the fastest time, a ripping 46.08 seconds on his sixth lap. But that time alone doesn’t tell the whole story. Stewart has fallen twice this afternoon, once in free practice after coming up short on a triple jump and again in the early laps of this time qualifier where he came down wide from a jump, dropping his number-7 Yamaha and setting a Tuff Block flying. After picking up the bike and riding off-track back to the start, he went on to put in his fastest time this session, 0.22 seconds faster than the next best, JGR/Muscle Milk/Toyota Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps.But the fastest man in Oakland, after both timed qualifiers is Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto (47,070), setting a time a full second faster in the second qualifying session than Stewart’s earlier time of 46.08. The next three in line were Honda’s Trey Canard (45.297), Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey (45.383) and Millsaps (45.404), all within a half second of each other. Where was Stewart? He’d opted to sit out the second qualifier. Perhaps the track was just faster for this second set, as the best times were all a second faster. As a result, James Stewart will have eighth pick for the heat gate.
In the Lites, Kawasaki rider Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen and DNA Shred Stix/Yamaha-mounted Kyle Cunningham battled for the top spot. Cunningham was fastest the first time around, but Hansen bested him by just 0.12 seconds on the second try with a (46.146). And that puts him first, ahead of Cunningham, KTM/Red Bull’s Ken Roczen and Rockstar Energy/Suzuki’s Martin Davalos, in that order, all within .8 seconds.
Looks promising for Kawasaki tonight, but anything can happen.
While it’s going to be close racing, it may also be sloppy, as the clouds are menacing and there’s been some light rain.