Eli Tomac, Zach Osborne top qualifying at Hangtown

May 20, 2017

Martin Davalos and Dylan Ferrandis were among the top five qualifiers in their respective classes.

Eli Tomac was fastest in the 450 Class. (Photo: Jeff Kardas / Racer X)

The first round of the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship got underway Saturday morning with a pair of practice sessions at Hangtown. As always, practice also served as qualifying for the motos, with each lap being timed. In motocross, the top overall lap times determine the qualifying results, and the top qualifiers in both classes get the first gate selection before the start of Moto 1.

One change to the practice sessions this year is that extra time has been built in exclusively for the riders to work on starts before they start taking timed laps. In past years, riders would use part of the allotted 15 minutes of practice to work on their holeshot techniques.

450 Class
With Ken Roczen (injury) and Ryan Dungey (retirement) out of action this summer, there are no previous 450MX champions left in the field this year. Based on past results in both motocross and supercross, Eli Tomac has become the odds-on title favorite by default to start the season, but if anyone can challenge him, most expect that person to be Marvin Musquin, who is now Red Bull KTM's alpha dog following Dungey's departure. Round 1 this morning went to Musquin, who had the fastest time in the first session, but Tomac came back in the second session and posted the top time of the entire day.

Musquin ended up third in qualifying behind Tomac and Jason Anderson, who is expected to be another rider capable of challenging for wins this season. Behind them in fourth was Cooper Webb, who is making his debut in the 450MX Class with Factory Yamaha after last year's 250MX championship. Webb reportedly eschewed supercross testing for several weeks recently in favor of outdoor testing.

One of the most eye-opening developments was Martin Davalos finishing fifth in qualifying. Davalos, who has raced the 250 Class ever since 2006, is finally getting his shot to ride a 450 after Rockstar Husqvarna announced the move earlier this week. He had very little time to test the bike leading up to Hangtown, but that didn't stop him from posting fast times in both sessions.

250 Class
Fresh off his first supercross title, Zach Osborne carries a lot of momentum into the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season opener. The Rockstar Husqvarna rider considers himself better suited for outdoor motocross and is expected to be in the mix for a title this summer. Doing his part to validate those expectations, Osborne posted the fastest time in both 250 Class practice sessions and is the day's top qualifier.

Dylan Ferrandis had been garnering a lot of hype during the "stopwatch nationals" season, and he brought that speed to Hangtown, qualifying in second. While technically a rookie to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, the 22-year-old has been racing Grand Prix events for a few years and has won races on that circuit.

The top five in qualifying was rounded out by Adam Cianciarulo, Aaron Plessinger and two-time 250MX champion Jeremy Martin. Martin, who is in his first year with GEICO Honda, has more career overall wins than the rest of the field combined and is the only rider who has won a 250MX title, making him one of this year's leading contenders once again.