If you look at what happened at Glen Helen yesterday, I suppose things went according to plan. With the retirement of Ricky Carmichael, it was expected that Kawasaki’s James Stewart would run out front all alone. This is basically what happened, as Stewart was able to comfortably record lap times quicker than the competition. Without the need to “hang it out” dicing with Ricky Carmichael, Stewart looked comfortable, composed and generally in control.
As usual, the other riders are hungry, but this year two of the fastest competitors have youth on their side, with the opportunity to get faster still. David Millsaps (Honda) and Mike Alessi (Suzuki) may have the rest of the field covered at most of the tracks (depending on the type of speed Honda’s Ben Townley eventually finds). Alessi, in particular, looked fast and consistent.
In the end, it looks like Stewart just needs to stay healthy and focused to win this title. Both of those things have been challenging for him in the past at times, however, but he doesn’t have Ricky Carmichael to contend with, and this could make all the difference.