James Stewart came into Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross series opener at Anaheim with a fair bit of momentum after his 8-1-1 finish and overall victory at last November’s Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas.
The Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing rider looked just as impressive in Saturday’s main event, as he moved quickly though the field after a mid-pack start to pull within striking distance of leader Ken Roczen. However, after turning16 flawless laps, which included laying down the fastest lap of the race, Stewart went down in spectacular fashion and was not able to finish the race.
“This weekend was just the first round,” said Stewart. “Definitely, I didn’t want to go out like that, but at the same time, I felt like this was the best I’ve been riding in years and this was the best I’ve felt on a motorcycle in years. So I’m confident and healthy, and I feel good on the bike.”
Despite the crash and the resulting DNF, Stewart has a lot to be pleased about, including starting out the day on a positive note, by posting the fastest lap times in the first 450 class practice session.
“All day went pretty good and I was able to get second in my heat race,” added Stewart. “In the main event, I was late off the gate and I was pretty far back. But I made my way up on the bike and it got better and better as the race went on. I felt stronger and stronger and my lap times started going down. I could see that I was starting to pick it up and make time on the guys up front. I went to make a pass in the whoops – they’d been taking people out all night – and I kind of got caught out. But I’m happy, the Yoshimura Suzuki team stepped it up again and I’m really proud of my guys and where we are. And now we’re just going to continue to get better as we head to Phoenix.”