Stewart Sets The Bar at San Diego SX Qualifying

Kit Palmer | February 11, 2012

James Stewart, on the JGRMX/Toyota Yamaha, reeled off the quickest lap time of the day to start off the sixth round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. On a somewhat short and fast track, Stewart set the pace in the first timed qualifier with a 46.264-second lap, and it would hold throughout both 450 timed qualifiers.

James Stewart has the fastest lap time so far.

James Stewart has the fastest lap time so far.

The next-best time was put in by Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto who stopped the clock with a 46.375 to top the second qualifying session but not Stewart’s best time of the first session. Villopoto’s best lap was a 46.374.

The third best time was laid down by TwoTwo Motorsport Honda’s Chad Reed with a 46.506, which came in the second session.

Five riders in all broke into the 46-second bracket: Stewart, Villopoto, Reed, Kevin Windham and Ryan Dungey.

Windham’s 46.858 time was fourth fastest overall, and Dungey’s 46.975 was fifth fastest.

The first rider in the 47’s was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer.

Ryan Villopoto was the quickest in the second timed qualifier.

In the West Lites class, all of the top riders stepped it up in their second timed qualifier, with GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac topping everyone with a 46.450, which is third quickest among all riders, including the 450s.

Next best is Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson with a 46.772, followed by Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Martin Davalos with a 47.133. His teammate Jason Anderson was fourth quickest, followed by Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely, and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin.

The second 450-class time qualifying had to be halted temporarily when Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Brayton went down over a rhythm section entering a turn. Brayton went over the bars, sat up on the track but was clutching his lower leg. He took off his helmet and was eventually transported off the track and back to the pits.

Not only was Eli Tomac the quickest in the Lites class but also the third quickest overall, including 450s.

Another early casualty is Rocket Exhaust Honda’s Michael Leib who finished second in last week’s West Lites final at Anaheim. Leib crashed in the first non-timed practice session and apparently injured his wrist. He did not come back for the two Lites timed sessions.

The talk of the track is the long whoop section, by far the longest of the season. The whoops have been described as difficult but not “over the top.” Some of the smoothest looking riders through the whoops certainly include Villopoto, Windham, Reed, and Wilson. The 15-mound whoops will no doubt play a big role in the outcome of tonight’s racing.

There will be a lot of passing in the long whoop section.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.