New Team, New Start For James Stewart

Paul Carruthers | January 5, 2012
James Stewart talks to media about switch to new team for 2012 season at the Anaheim 1 press conference.  Photography By: Andrea Wilson.

Photography By: Andrea Wilson

ANAHEIM, CA, JAN. 5 – James Stewart went back to the drawing board after last season’s AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series. He didn’t think things were right for him to compete in the AMA National Motocross Championship, so he skipped it, opting instead to focus on what he needed to find success in the 2012. He thinks he’s found what he was looking for in the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Like everyone else, he’ll find out on Saturday night at Angel Stadium just how good his decision was.

He says that not much has changed other than the most obvious one.

James Stewart on the JGR Yamaha bike turning laps for the media at the A1 media day. Photography By: Andrea Wilson

Photography By: Andrea Wilson

“My gear deal is the same with Answer, my helmet deal with Bell, a new sponsor deal with Go Pro and stuff, but it’s the same bike – Yamaha and I’m glad to sign back up with those guys,” Stewart said. “I guess the biggest change is changing teams with JGR [Joe Gibbs Racing]. It’s a good change and a change I felt like I needed. I spent a lot of time during the off-season figuring out what was best for me and having the opportunity to work with Coy [Gibbs] and the whole JGR team and J-Bone [Jeremy Albrecht]. It was good. I think we got a lot of things figured out. In 2010 I got hurt and coming out with the new bike… I felt like in 2011 we figured out a lot about the motorcycle that we would have found out in 2010. The off-season was good and the team is good, so we’ll find out.”

It’s hard to believe that Stewart has been at this game since 2002.

“For me I’ve been hurt a lot so I missed a bunch of years,” Stewart said. “So although I’ve been around for 10 years, I missed the outdoors in 2007, Supercross in 2008 and 2010, so I’ve had a lot of opportunity to be rejuvenated and kind of refresh. Every time I race it’s a good feeling and I’m happy to be back out there. I guess I am a veteran.”

Watching his rivals battle in the National Motocross season was frustrating, but he says he did the right thing in skipping the outdoors.

“I think the motivation of watching the outdoor season this year… it was tough because I wanted to race it but, at the same time, I knew I had to make some changes going into 2012,” Stewart said. “I felt like we were good last year and we won a bunch of races, I think five races, but it still wasn’t up to par with where we should have been. I had to go back to the drawing board and I think we made all the changes to make it happen.”

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.