James Stewart is obviously adapting to his new Yoshimura Suzuki just fine. The former 450 National MX Champion who has only raced outdoors once in the last four years, set the fastest lap time today in practice/qualifying at the Hangtown Motocross Classic, the opening round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in Sacramento, California.
On a track that is slightly shorter than last year’s, Stewart was the only rider to break under the two-minute mark with a 1:58.579, which was nearly two seconds quicker than the next-best rider, none other than his former Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha teammate, Davi Millsaps.
Millsaps laid down a best lap of 2:00.409, which was nearly a half-second quicker than the third-quickest rider, Mike Alessi, on the MotoConcepts Suzuki.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe is fourth fastest, followed by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Brock Tickle.
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey clocked the 10th-quickest time with a 2:01.710.
Stewart says he feels comfortable on the Suzuki but learning new things every time he rides it. But he looks very fast, comfortable and relaxed on the Suzuki.
In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett sits at the top of the leaderboard, just ahead of GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac and Justin Barcia. Baggett’s best time was a 2:00.161, which was about a half-second quicker than Tomac’s 2:01:685.
Former World Champion Ken Roczen is fourth quickest with a 2:01.936.
Rounding out the top five is Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Jason Anderson.
Marvin Musquin, Wil Hahn, Dean Wilson, Travis Baker and Jessy Nelson complete the top 10 250-class qualifiers.
Weather and track conditions couldn’t be much better for today’s race. There’s not a cloud in the sky and temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 80s.