Despite both having trouble in their main events at the season opening round in Anaheim one week ago, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb remained the fastest qualifiers in the 450SX Class and 250SX Class in Phoenix. The duo is in search of redemption tonight after entering last weekend’s race as the favorites, and based on their efforts this afternoon, both could very well earn their first career Monster Energy Supercross wins inside Chase Field.
It took some time for the track inside Chase Field to get into race shape. A lot of water was used overnight in hopes of alleviating some of the excessive dryness that occurs in Phoenix, so the first sessions were somewhat messy and weren’t a true indicator of how the track would be.
RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Factory Suzuki’s Ken Roczen, fresh off his dominant win a week ago, stole the momentum early by posting the fastest lap of the first 450SX Class session. He was never really challenged for the top spot, but to the surprise of some Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey ended the session in second, showing that he’s ready to try and earn a third victory in the desert. Tomac rounded out the top three, with the trio being the only riders in the 55-second bracket, separated by a mere two tenths.
In he final session, Roczen once again established himself as the rider to beat, but he and Tomac traded the position before the Honda rider ultimately laid down a blistering time of 54.404 in the closing stages of the session to come out on top. Roczen sat just a tenth behind in second, while Red Bull KTM’s Dean Wilson bettered his fifth-place position from a week ago to land third, just ahead of his teammate Dungey. Only Tomac and Roczen were able to come in below 55 seconds.
On the first flying lap of the final session, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, who was fourth in the first session, went down in the whoops. While he appeared to come away unscathed, the incident appeared to disrupt his rhythm, only managing to post the 11th-fastest time.
In the 250SX Class, Webb was the rider to beat all afternoon. He paced the first session, beating out Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers by two tenths, and then traded the top spot with Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill in the final session before emerging with the top time. Webb is currently under the weather and apparently isn’t at 100 percent, so it will be interesting to see how he endures once the racing begins.
Hill finished three tenths behind Webb in second, with last week’s winner Jessy Nelson claiming third aboard his Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil KTM.