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A new day is upon us, but practice indicates that not a lot has changed. The riders tackled a single timed session at midday, to shake off the cobwebs ahead of the night show, and Marvin Musquin again proved to be unstoppable in the premier division. The Frenchman set the fastest time of the weekend to edge out Justin Brayton by half a second, but the latter may have a little more in the tank.
Following some mediocre practice times yesterday, Brayton turned it around in the main and reacted to some aggressive moves from his competitors. The fact that he started to bust out the triple, quad, quad aided his charge somewhat and also contributed to his practice times today. Doing that line consistently will obviously be the key tonight, just as it was last night, but it seems that Musquin is the only one capable of that. Mookie has it in his back pocket and could bust it out at any point, but we still have not seen Justin Barcia manage it at all.
You would think that Barcia is keen to rebound tonight and take something positive from this trip, but his practice times were lacklustre yet again. ‘51’ was almost a second a half slower than Musquin, which is obviously a massive amount no matter where you are racing. The whoops are still his kryptonite, which could be down to his borrowed machinery, but Stewart and Brayton are navigating the section without any major issues.
Just how difficult are the whoops, I hear you ask? Musquin has actually opted to slide around the inside and jump through them, just as he did at a handful of Monster Energy Supercross rounds earlier this year. It is a technique that some frown on, including Roger DeCoster, but it is obviously effective. Heck, it seems that it is impossible to stop him!
There are actually some title fights to focus on tonight, believe it or not, as the French SX Tour series has hit its final round. Cedric Soubeyras leads Thomas Ramette by nine points and was fourth in practice today, so you would be a fool to bet him. It could all go sideways on a track as tight and technical as this, as Soubeyras has found himself in some heated situations in the past, but Ramette has not really featured at the front at all thus far. His teammate, Cyrille Coulon, has actually been more impressive, but struggled in practice earlier today.
An SX2 title was on the line entering the weekend too, but has been claimed by Florent Richier. Yannis Irsuti and Thomas Do are separated by just one point in the battle for second though! There are plenty of storylines buried in the foundation of the Palexpo, so stay tuned tonight.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Image: Sean Ogden