Anaheim is just a matter of hours away and the first practice and qualifying rounds of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season have just wrapped up. A variety of riders found themselves atop the charts in both the 450SX Class and 250SX Class, but it was ultimately GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb who laid down the fastest laps of the afternoon on what is shaping up to be a memorable night of action.
The key to the premier 450SX Class is the exceptionally close proximity amongst the field, which has been recognized as arguably the deepest and most talented of all time. The #WhosNext slogan was fitting with most of the division’s top names fighting their way to the top of the time sheets at some point. The top 20 riders after the first session were separated by just over two seconds, with RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki’s Ken Roczen making the first statement. Only he and Tomac broke the 56-second barrier in the opening session, but those times would drop dramatically in the final session.
Coverage of the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season opener from Anaheim kicks off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on FOX Sports 1.
Unfortunately, the opening session saw Kawasaki Racing’s Wil Hahn go down hard in one of the rhythm sections. He was immediately taken to a local hospital for further evaluations, with the team later confirming that he suffered an arm injury.
The tense final practice took place at dusk, under cooling temperatures. The track appeared much faster and the times reflected it. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey laid down the first fast lap, but AutoTrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia answered. From there it once again became a showdown between the sophomore tandem of Roczen and Tomac, who broke into the 54-second bracket. Roczen appeared to have things locked up until Tomac put down a blistering lap in the closing stages to steal pole position with an incredible 54.586, four tenths quicker than Roczen. Team Honda’s Trey Canard also broke into the 54-second bracket to land the third-quickest lap.
Tomac and Roczen’s prowess appeared to be in the two prominent 180-bowl turns on the track where both riders carried considerable momentum into the corner and hit the throttle early to surge out and lose little speed. It will be interesting to see how that translates into tonight’s racing.
In the 250SX Class, four-time AMSOIL Arenacross Champion Tyler Bowers made his official debut with the legendary Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki squad and looked like he would have the top time of the opening session, but GEICO Honda’s newly signed Malcolm Stewart edged him out at the end of the session by a tenth.
In the final session, times picked up by a couple seconds with Webb posting consistently fast laps. Stewart kept the sophomore rider honest, but just missed out on Webb’s top time of 55.728 by a tenth as the only two riders to come in under 56 seconds. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne rounded out the top three with Bowers dropping to seventh following his hot start to the day. However, less than a second separated Webb from Bowers.