PHOTOS | Emery
Timed qualifying has just come to a close for the 2019 Anaheim One Supercross, the opening round of the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Series. Over the course of the afternoon, riders learned the technical layout that has been constructed on the floor at Angels Stadium of Anaheim, particularly the long rhythm lanes, punchy whoop sections, and sizeable gaps. Compared to opening rounds in years past, this is one of the more challenging tracks we can remember.
Weather forecasts for the last week have called for rain to fall this evening and after a full day of dark skies, the clouds opened up just as the 450 A group hit the track for their final session. What will the weather for the rest of the night be? Just like everyone else in attendance, we’ve kept an eye on the radar and see the worst is set to come just as the night’s racing starts.
The pace of both the 250 and 450 classes was remarkably close through the day and a look at the final results shows just fractions of a second could be the deciding factor in the Main Events.
250 CLASS QUALIFYING REPORT
Incoming title favorites Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis showed why they received most of the preseason hype, as they traded the key spot on the scoreboard through the afternoon. The advantage in session one went to Ferrandis, thanks to the 55.789 lap turned by the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider, and he was even quicker in the final practice despite a hard crash on the first baseline rhythm lane. But Cianciarulo found the best line around the Anaheim track on his very last lap of the final session and a 53.963 put the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki at the top of the chart. Cianciarulo was the only rider in the 250 class to post a lap time in the 53-second range, while Ferrandis was the only rider to post a lap time in the 54-second range.
After a quiet ride in the first session, JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider Jimmy Decotis uncorked a slew of fast laps in the second outing. When all was said and done, Decotis was ranked third in the class with a 55.312 time.
The best laps by Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath and Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha’s Colt Nichols were within just .050 seconds of each other on the stopwatch, with the advantage going to McElrath.
One rider of note is Jess Pettis, as the Red Bull KTM Canada-backed rider was the fastest racer in the B Group and with a 57.697 lap time, was twelfth fastest in the class.
450 CLASS QUALIFYING REPORT
Blake Baggett was practically left out by most in the preseason talks, but at the end of qualifying the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider forced his way back into the conversation. Baggett started the final session by tailing Justin Barcia, the fastest rider from the day’s first practice, and stayed around the top-three. On the very last lap, Baggett let it all out and clocked a 54.346 time, the fastest of the day.
Dean Wilson has earned the support of many in the industry with his newly formed independent effort. While many have called for Wilson to earn a factory ride, support from Husqvarna and Rockstar Energy have him on a very competitive FC 450. How competitive? Wilson was the second-fastest rider in the 450 class in the final results, ahead of a slew of title contenders.
Thanks to a secured ride with SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda, Malcolm Stewart is lining up for his first Anaheim One in the 450 class. Time off of the bike due to a preseason crash didn’t seem to hamper Stewart on the track, as he was third fastest with a 54.471 lap time.
After racing around the world through the offseason, SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts/Honda rider Justin Brayton enters the start of the season in prime form. He was quietly fourth fastest in the field with a 54.698 time.
Incoming title favorites Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin, and Justin Barcia as well as defending champion Jason Anderson all held a place in the top-five at some point in the day, but by the end of the sessions, all were further down the results sheet than many expected. We’ll see how this plays out come race time.