It was obvious from the start of the final qualifying session this afternoon in St. Louis that Ryan Villopoto had one thing in mind and that was setting fast time. Pushing his No. 1 Monster Energy Kawasaki close to the limits, the defending champ survived a near crash to set the fastest time of the day with a lap of 50.441 seconds on the technical Edward Jones Dome track.
Ryan Dungey carried his momentum from his victory last week in Atlanta into qualifying today, pushing his Red Bull KTM 450SX-F to a time of 50.571 to take second. Kevin Windham was the only other rider in the 50-second bracket. The veteran, racing in his 201st Supercross event, lapped at 50.830. Last year’s St. Louis winner James Stewart (51.191) and Justin Brayton (51.324) rounded out the top five in the 450 ranks. The top five were all within a second of Villopoto’s time.
Villopoto was visibly pushing his Kawasaki KX450F hard, even early in the session. In his first flying lap he entered a tight left hander after a short straight and lost the front end. He used every ounce of skill to keep from crashing, but instead of catching a breath after the near fall, Villopoto was instantly back on the gas. His time in the second session was nearly a half second faster than in the first qualifying session.
A few minutes earlier in the Lites East class a somewhat surprising Justin Bogle scored the fastest lap in timed qualifying for the first time in his young career. The rookie raced his GEICO Honda around the tight track in a time of 51.638 seconds besting series leader and teammate Justin Barcia’s 51.765. Ken Roczen was third with a 51.974 on his Red Bull KTM.
“It’s awesome to set the fastest time in qualifying,” said Bogle, last year’s AMA Horizon Award winner. “The track was perfect. The dirt is so good here. Hopefully I can keep things going in my Heat race and have a good final.”