James Stewart ended qualifying atop the charts with the treacherous track being the big story at the Indy Supercross Saturday afternoon.
Stewart clocked a 54.047 second lap on his Yoshimura Suzuki to top Supercross qualifying.
In the 250 East ranks it was Adam Cianciarulo leading the way with a 54.629 on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki.
The dirt, moistened by record snow, has made for what is generally agreed to be the most challenging track of the year. Dozens of riders crashed in practice and qualifying, including series leader Ryan Villopoto, who suffered a hard face plant in the wickedly rutted whoop section. That may have been one of the reasons he qualified sixth.
It is the worst possible track for 450 fill-in riders Dean Wilson and Cole Seely to tackle. Both suffered crashes in their season 450 debuts - in the case of Wilson, his first time racing a 450 in AMA Supercross.
“I was a little tight and nervous,” said Wilson, who is racing as a fill-in for the injured Chad Reed on the Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsport Kawasaki team. “The track is super gnarly. Ruts are everywhere. I just need to get through practice and take it one step at a time and I’ll be fine.”
Seely and Wilson qualified just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th.
Stewart was about the only rider who didn’t look completely lost in the huge ruts strewn across the racing surface.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some of the world’s best riders look like squirrels out there,” Stewart said. “It’s fun, it’s sketchy and a lot of guys went down. It’s going to be tough because you’ve got riders going from right to left, left to right and things like that. With the ruts out there it makes it difficult. They’ve got a lot of rain [actually snow melt) out here and it’s probably one of the gnarliest tracks I’ve ever raced.”
When asked if there was anything his team could do to make the bike better for these conditions Stewart replied, “Pretty much all they can do is pray, because we are going to need it tonight.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was second fastest, pointing towards a good night for the former champ. Perhaps the surprise of the 450 riders was Wil Hahn who was third fastest on his GEICO Honda entry.
Young Adam Cianciarulo is proving he’s the real deal in the 250 in his rookie campaign in the series. His time of 54.629 topped Kawasaki teammates Martin Davalos and Blake Baggett, who ran 54.7 and 54.8 respectively.
“I really struggled in the first practice and fortunately I have a great team to rely on – Mitch, Bones – to help me figure out what I need to be doing,” Cianciarulo said. “This track is rough and is breaking down, so it’s going to be really tough in the main.”
Indianapolis Supercross Qualifying Times
1 7 James Stewart Suzuki RM-Z450 54.047
2 5 Ryan Dungey KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edit 54.234
3 23 William Hahn Honda CRF 450 54.556
4 94 Ken Roczen KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edit 54.834
5 3 Eli Tomac Honda CRF 450 55.106
6 1 Ryan Villopoto Kawasaki KX 450F 55.262
7 33 Joshua Grant Yamaha YZ450F 55.288
8 20 Broc Tickle Suzuki RM-Z450 55.491
9 75 Joshua Hill Suzuki RM-Z450 55.666
10 10 Justin Brayton Yamaha YZ450F 55.747
Indianapolis Supercross 250 East Qualifying Times
1 46 Adam Cianciarulo Kawasaki KX 250F 54.629
2 31 Martin Davalos Kawasaki KX 250F 54.751
3 4 Blake Baggett Kawasaki KX 250F 54.809
4 19 Jeremy Martin Yamaha YZ250F 54.989
5 32 Justin Bogle Honda CRF 250 55.425
6 36 Blake Wharton Honda CRF 250 55.487
7 56 James Decotis Honda CRF 250 55.829
8 78 Matthew Lemoine Kawasaki KX 250F 55.921
9 410 Jace Owen Honda CRF 250 56.322 59.250
10 96 Matthew Bisceglia Honda CRF 250 56.484