Photography by Kit Palmer
It appears Justin Barcia will not suffer a sophomore slump. The young factory Honda rider came out on top in an ultra-close 450 Supercross timed qualifying session this afternoon at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. With a time of 1:57.656 Barcia launched the first salvo in the battle for the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.
Barcia was not alone at setting fast times in Anaheim. Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen (57.725) and Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart (57.763) were both within a wink of an eye of Barcia’s time. That trio were only ones managing to break into the 1:57 bracket.
Defending champ Ryan Villopoto, who sounded like he was suffering a cold or worse in interviews, overcame his illness to run fourth in timed qualifying with a 58.071 on his Monster energy Kawasaki. Rounding out the top five was Ryan Dungey with a 58.311 aboard his Red Bull KTM.
“I’m looking to have a more consistent season this year,” said Barcia, who is starting his second season in the 450 class. “Last year I learned a lot and I think I’m bringing a lot more experience this year. I’m looking to have fun and battle with all these guys.”
In a “what are the chances? scenario” Dean Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson and GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne turned in the identical times in the final 250 qualifying session all the way out to a thousandth of a second, both clocking a 58.187.
Rockstar Energy KTM rider Jason Anderson, who turned in the fastest time in the first timed session, finished third with a 58.198, meaning the top three are separated by a hundredth of a second. Malcolm Stewart and Cole Seely rounded out the top five.
450 Class Timed Qualifying from Anaheim I
1 51 Justin Barcia Honda CRF 450 57.656
2 94 Ken Roczen KTM 450 SX-F Factory 57.725
3 7 James Stewart Suzuki RM-Z450 57.763
4 1 Ryan Villopoto Kawasaki KX 450F 58.071
5 5 Ryan Dungey KTM 450 SX-F Factory
6 10 Justin Brayton Yamaha YZ450F 58.483
7 22 Chad Reed Kawasaki KX 450F 58.524
8 33 Joshua Grant Yamaha YZ450F 58.680
9 3 Eli Tomac Honda CRF 450 58.806
10 20 Broc Tickle Suzuki RM-Z450 58.997
250 Class Timed Qualifying from Anaheim I
1 15 Dean Wilson Kawasaki KX 250F 58.187
2 16 Zach Osborne Honda CRF 250 58.187
3 17 Jason Anderson KTM 250 SX-F 58.198
4 34 Malcolm Stewart Honda CRF 250 58.543
5 21 Cole Seely Honda CRF 250 58.708
6 37 Cooper Webb Yamaha YZ250F 59.259
7 35 Justin Hill Kawasaki KX 250F 59.352
8 66 Jake Canada Honda CRF 250 59.430
9 50 Jessy Nelson Honda CRF 250 1:00.591