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Seeing as the promoters of European indoor events, such as Geneva, have such little room to work with, making a track that is both challenging and promotes good racing can be a testing experience. The circuit this weekend is quite different to what we have seen at the Palexpo in the past, but it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to shake things up. There are options out there though!
Marvin Musquin and Malcolm Stewart are the only ones we have seen manage to go triple, quad and then quad again in the longest rhythm section on the track. The former appeared to nail the line, which is undoubtedly the fastest way through the section, consistently and that showed in his lap times. The fact that there is some risk involved does not faze Musquin, as he has already stated that overcoming that makes it a great test for the season that lies ahead.
It remains to be seen whether it is going to be possible in the race, but it would be a major advantage if someone could get through the section in that way. The worst-case scenario for the competition would be if Musquin takes the holeshot and then busts that out on lap one. It already seems like he is going to be incredibly tough to beat! Nailing the triple in appears to be the most problematic part, as a lot of the top guys came up short at various points.
That was one of the few times that Marvin Musquin seemed human, to be completely honest, as he is still riding that wave of momentum from Paris-Lille. Establishing an advantage on a track like this can be difficult, hence why the fact that he went almost a second and a half quicker than anyone else was so incredible. It is worth noting, however, that he is the only one on a full-factory bike.
Two of the other contenders, Justin Brayton and Justin Barcia, struggled to make an impression in the short sessions. The latter floundered in the lower half of the top ten, did not look comfortable in the whoops and actually completed just four laps of the first session after a small crash. His second time on track did not go much better, despite the fact that he was out there the entire time, but one would hope that he manages to turn things around.
Justin Brayton occupied a spot closer to the front and had flashes of brilliance, although he may end up having his hands full with some of the European regulars. Cedric Soubeyras looked great, for instance, just as he did at Paris-Lille. This is the first time that the reigning ‘King of Geneva’ has been spotted with MotoConcepts graphics. It is also worth of noting that Brayton has made the switch from Fly to JT ahead of the new season.
What other intriguing points emerged from the two practice sessions? Arnaud Tonus looked great, but I would be reluctant to put too much stock in his times from the first session. Tonus was one of the few riders who benefitted from having some time on the track yesterday. Another fan favourite, Valentin Guillod, disappeared from the timed session immediately for reasons that have not yet been confirmed. It seems that he is still in for tonight though! Speaking of the night show, it'll be beginning real soon.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Image: Sean Ogden