Friday Kickstart

We’d say we scoured the pits at Anaheim today, but that wouldn’t really be true. Actually, the non-stop rain did it for us. Just walking to the pits, you had to attempt to navigate three-foot-wide, six-inch deep runoff. The Yamaha pit area featured similar flow through a portion of it.

Under the Yamaha canopy, Chad Reed’s bike is still featuring the number one plate, though it’s still up for debate on which number will actually grace his bike tomorrow night. As he’s said all along, Chad would prefer to keep the 22 in place, while, of course, Yamaha would prefer to see the single digit.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the Yamaha hauler, they’re hosting a fourth rider for the first time in a while, since Heath Voss can be found there…at least until he gets a rig constructed, and finalizes deals with some outside sponsors. He’d reportedly had a deal with Mastercraft boats, but that Yamaha had nixed it because it was too closely competitive with their watercraft.

Lots of sponsors were also dropping off product, including the White Brothers crew, who were dropping off extra exhaust systems for Heath’s bike at the Yamaha rig. The FMF troops were equally busy. Remember the new product from FMF’s Operation Power intro that we couldn’t talk about a few weeks back? Well, Little D, Jason Partridge, and George Luttig from FMF were seen in the KTM and Yamaha of Troy pits, making last-minute deliveries of their new 4.1 series carbon fiber mufflers, which will be available (as they put it), “Februaryish.” If the weather’s lousy (as predicted on Saturday), some teams may opt to not use the new mufflers, but you’ll definitely see them on the track soon.

Ironically, while both of the aforementioned manufacturers were concerned with pending sound testing by the AMA, it looks like the testing is off—at least for this weekend—due to the inclement weather.

With the predicted rain and bad weather, there was reportedly some consideration of actually using practice bikes instead of their regular race bikes by the Pro Circuit crew. The PC bikes were also sporting the new Monster graphics, and as promised, Ivan Tedesco’s bike was sporting the number one plate.

The Team Kawasaki graphics were also looking different, with the departure of Chevy from the package.

Weatherproofing was a consistent them throughout the pits. Most teams were adopting a wait and see attitude for tomorrow’s tire and gear choices, but handguards are a pretty universal addition, as were solid rotors, and extra airbox weatherproofing. Depending on the team they had plans of everything from slight motor changes to stiffer clutch springs. Danny Dobey from One Industries dropped off a new mud seat for Kevin Windham, with rows of extra ribs on the seat provide plenty of extra grip.

Over in the Honda pits, the bikes were in their usual jewel-like state…at least before tomorrow. The extra day was used for creeping elegance. Last-minute adjustments, polishing, and waterproofing. You can enjoy a photo of Ernesto Fonseca’s pre-mud-bath Honda to the right.

With a new private teams like MDK Motorsports, Monster Energy, and the Cernic’s/Red Bull/Suzuki team featuring large haulers, the pits are more expansive than ever. Tyler Evans’ rig got an interesting graphic upgrade With new sponsorship from Bloodshot Inc. (a clothing company) and Skaterade, it features elements from Tyler’s personal collection of tattoos, as well as the Skaterade city skyline across the bottom.

Anyone looking for peek at a number four Suzuki (or Broc Hepler’s 250F) was disappointed today. Both Suzuki rigs were locked up tight.

On the way out of the pits, we heard that tomorrow’s rider’s meeting will go off as scheduled, but that the rest of the day may be modified to eliminate practice (except for four short practicess later in the afternoon, and where the AMA will seed riders directly to the night show). If we hear more we’ll let you know…but one thing’s for sure. tomorrow’s race will be extremely interesting. Be sure to check back for more throughout the weekend, and for Monday Kickstart.