Cooper Webb has the red plate and all the momentum. Photo by: Simon Cudby
The 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, heads to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan for round eight and round two of the “Triple Crown”. Red Bull/KTM’s Cooper Webb won the first “Triple Crown” race of 2019 at A2. The final one will be in Houston.
While 2019 will mark the 37th time the gate has dropped for an AMA Supercross in the Detroit area, this will only be the eighth time the Monster Energy Supercross event has been held inside Ford Field. Among the active riders, JGR / Suzuki’s Chad Reed—with 3 wins—has the most Detroit wins. Bob Hannah won 9 in Detroit.
The Detroit SX is a “Triple Crown” event so qualifying for the main events will come from the top 18 fastest 250SX and 450SX lap times in timed qualifying, with the final 4 spots being filled by the top four finishers in each of the 250SX and 450SX LCQ races held after timed qualifying.
In the first 450SX qualifying sessions, Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac (47.132) was feeling it. Behind Tomac in the top five was Rockstar / Husqvarna’s Dean Wilson (47.427), HRC / Honda’s Cole Seely (47.629), Monster Energy / Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy (47.678) and HRC / Honda’s Ken Roczen (48.127).
Cooper Webb (48.381) is coming into Detroit with two straight wins—class-leading 4 total wins—and the red plate, but he does not look to be gelling with the Detroit circuit just yet. In the first morning Free Practice, the #2 was only 17th fastest and in qualifying session 1 he was only able to move up to 9th fastest. Normally we would not say it matters all that much, but with qualifying today determining your main event #1 gate pick, I think Cooper needs to do a little more in the final qualifying session to put himself in a good spot.
In the final 450SX group A session, it was once again Tomac (46.841) and Wilson (46.893) 1-2 and this time they were the only two riders to break the 47-second mark. Not too often we see Tomac and Wilson battling for pole position, but the two were battling back in forth in Free Practice and both qualifying sessions. Last week had 14 riders on the same second, but we see quite a bit more separation heading into tonight’s “Triple Crown” main events.
Smartop / Motoconcepts / Honda’s Justin Brayton (47.478) is one of just a handful of riders that has said that he likes the “Triple Crown” format and his speed is looking good for tonight’s main events. Justin was the third fastest qualifier just ahead of Savatgy (47.573) and Roczen (47.606).
Besides Brayton being the third fastest qualifier, the next biggest surprise in the 450SX class has to be Webb (48.001)—who ended qualifying with the ninth fastest lap time. Cooper’s only pole for 2019 came a week ago in Arlington, but today he has definitely looked a little off the pace all morning long. Having the 9th gate pick is not ideal for the #2, but he has shown that he can pretty much get a good start from anywhere. Webb being a little off tonight could be a great thing for the series because if he were to rattle off another win tonight, it could be lights out for everyone else.
One more person we need to give a little ink to is Chris Blose (48.917). The journeyman privateer has been racing the 250SX West and riding the 450 today, he was the only rider from the 450 Group B session to clock a fast enough lap to transfer directly to the main events. Chris will have the 17th gate pick for main event 1.
Check out the final Top 18 450SX qualifying times for tonight’s “Triple Crown”. View all Detroit qualifying times here.
450SX Top 18 Overall Qualifiers – Detroit Triple Crown
Click Time Sheets to View in Slideshow
450SX LCQ Top 4 Qualifiers
1. AJ Catanzaro
2. Carlen Gardner
3. Kyle Chisholm
4. Ronnie Stewart
In the first 250SX qualifying session, Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner (47.304) came out swinging, and was a half-second faster than GEICO / Honda’s Chase Sexton (47.860) in 2nd. So far in ’19, Austin has been the fastest qualifier at both races, won both his heat races, has led every lap of both main events and has the red plate.
The rest of the top five in the opening 250SX session was Monster Energy / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Mitchell Oldenburg (48.445), JGR / Suzuki’s Alex Martin (48.527) and Monster Energy / Pro Circuit / Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos (48.887).
The second and final 250SX qualifying session was more of the same for every lap but the final one. Forkner was the fastest the whole session, until Sexton through down a 47.149 on the final qualifying lap of the day and knocked Forkner down to 2nd for the first time in 2019. Austin’s fastest lap time in session two was a 47.491, but his session one time of 47.304 will give him the 2nd gate pick in the first of three 10-minute plus one lap main events the 250’s will race tonight.
Forkner was the only rider in the top five that scored his fastest lap in session one. The remainder of the top five 250 qualifiers—Alex Martin (47.582). Justin Cooper (47.649) and Martin Davalos (47.665)—all had their fastest laps come from the final session. All five of the top five fastest 250SX riders were able to run a 47, but only Forkner was able to lay down more than one of those laps. Forkner has been consistently fast, but he also has consistently had some close calls and crashes in qualifying and today was no different. I saw two very scary moments from the #24, but he was able to keep the rubber side down.
As far as surprises to report in the 250 class, there were not many in qualifying today. While Troy Lee Designs / KTM’s Jordon Smith (47.967) is expected to be inside the top five, he was not far off in sixth. One rider to watch tonight is Cycletrader / Yamaha’s Brandon Hartranft (48.617). Brandon was the 8th fastest qualifier today and we would not be surprised to see him inside the top five at the end of the night after three main events.
One other piece of news to report is the loss of Thomas Covington for tonight’s races due to a knee injury sustained last week. Thomas announced that he will sit out tonight and next weekend’s Atlanta SX as well. We hope to see the #112 back in Daytona.
Check out the final Top 18 qualifying times for tonight’s “Triple Crown”. View all Detroit qualifying times here.
250SX East Top 18 Overall Qualifiers – Detroit Triple Crown
Click Time Sheets to View in Slideshow
250SX LCQ Top 4 Qualifiers
1. Wilson Fleming
2. Chase Marquier
3. Lorenzo Locurcio
4. Justin Thompson