The unhappy marriage between former AMA Supercross Champion James Stewart and Joe Gibbs Racing has officially ended in divorce one day after the Monster Energy Supercross season finale in Las Vegas. But Stewart isn’t expected to be sidelined for long. The Floridian recently tested a Suzuki and is expected to compete in some or all of the AMA National Motocross Championship on the RM-Z450.James Stewart is officially out at Joe Gibbs Racing.
A two-line statement issued by the team said, “Effective immediately, JGRMX (Joe Gibbs Racing – Motocross) and James Stewart Jr. have mutually agreed to release Stewart from his contract for all Racing and Media Relations responsibilities that were assumed by him at the beginning of the 2012 racing season. We wish to thank James for his contributions and wish him the very best for the future.”
Stewart had tested both the Yamaha and Suzuki during the off-season before deciding to go with the Joe Gibbs Racing team. Part of his motivation was thought to be long-term; he was hopeful of moving into NASCAR racing when his two-wheel days were over. He would also be reunited with his former Kawasaki mechanic Jeremy Albrecht at the JGR team
But from the very start there were problems. At the Anaheim 1 season opener, Stewart was openly unhappy about the team’s Pirelli tires. Stewart used both Bridgestone and Dunlop tires during practice and qualifying before racing with the Pirellis, which didn’t offer the same front-end feel. He also complained about the Yamaha, though not publically, and he seemed to lose confidence as the season wore on. His teammate Davi Millsaps, however, rode the YZ450F to second in the Supercross Series, including a season-ending second-place finish to Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey last night in Las Vegas.
Stewart finished seventh overall with two wins. All but one of his points came in the first 10 races, through the Daytona Supercross, which he won. Following Daytona he was out for most of the races, scoring a single point in the Houston Supercross. Officially he was said to be nursing a hand injury, unofficially he was said to be unhappy.
Whatever the reason, his tenure was brief and his car racing aspirations have seemingly taken a blow.
On his Twitter feed this morning, Stewart wrote: “Change means that what was before wasn’t perfect. People want things to be better.”