Ken Roczen Knows The Fast Way Around Hangtown

Kit Palmer | May 31, 2014
Ken Roczen is the quickest qualifier at Hangtown. Photography by Kit Palmer

Ken Roczen is the quickest qualifier at Hangtown. Photography by Kit Palmer

Ken Roczen could be the rider to beat later this afternoon after laying down the quickest lap time after the two timed qualifying/practice sessions at Hangtown for the second round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Rancho Cordova, California, today.

Roczen, who finished second at the Glen Helen opener the previous week, looked very fast in both sessions, though the top five qualifiers in the 450 class, all produced their best times in the first session, with Roczen posting a 1:59.134, which was just a few ticks quicker than Trey Canard (1:59.434) on the Honda Muscle Milk CRF450R. Third quickest was Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart (1:59.468), followed by Glen Helen winner Ryan Dungey (1:59.807). They were the only four riders to crack the two minute more. Fifth quickest with a 1:200.964 was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe.

In the second session, Stewart was quickest with a 2:01.319, followed by Roczen (2:01.747), Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia (2:02.061), Canard (2:02.201) and Dungey (2:02.385).

Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsport Kawasaki’s Chad Reed is ninth quickest with a 2:01.864, which was about three seconds better than his best time in the second session.

Christophe Pourcel is the top 250 qualifier.

Christophe Pourcel is the top 250 qualifier.

In the 250 class, Valli Yamaha’s Christophe Pourcel save his best for last by posting the quickest time in the second session with a 2:02.048, followed by TLD/Lucas Oil/MavTV Honda’s Cole Seely (2:02.194) and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb (2:02.526).

Things, in fact, are quite tight in the 250 class with the top six riders — Pourcel, Seely, Webb, GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell, Rockstar’s Jason Anderson and GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle — all posting times in the 2:02 ranges. The first of the 2:03’s is Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin with a 2:03.319. Blake Baggett (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki) and last week’s 250 winner Jeremy Martin (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha) are right behind Musquin.

Of note, Rockstar Energy’s Joey Savatgy is back in action after skipping the Glen Helen round with a broken collarbone, and SmartTop/MotoConcepts’s Kyle Cunningham chose not to follow his team to Canada for this weekend’s opening of the Canadian National Championship and will instead follow the AMA Series, but will still receive support from the SmartTop/MotoConcepts Team.

Lap times, which are usually quicker in the second session, are significantly quicker in the first session here at Hangtown. Large braking bumps that are quickly forming on many of the big, high-speed downhills are causing the riders to back off a bit in the second session. The track, however, is generally holding up well with a mixture of hard-pack and loam, with some of the turns producing giant ruts.

Weather is sunny with temperatures currently in the 70s but is expected to reach the mid-80s. Great for racing.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes ever 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.