James Stewart and the Joe Gibbs Racing MX (JGRMX) Yamaha racing team have agreed to cut ties, ending their multi-year contract after a single AMA Supercross season. Stewart almost immediately signed a new multi-year deal with Yoshimura Suzuki to compete in both the AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross Championships.
Stewart had a promising start to the season with JGRMX but wasn’t as competitive as eventual champion Ryan Villopoto or Ryan Dungey. After winning the Daytona Beach, Fla., round, Stewart was injured in a crash at the following round in Indianapolis. Since then, Stewart has missed several rounds, scoring only a single point in the final seven rounds.
JGRMX released a brief statement announcing the split:
“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.”
Shortly after the split, Yoshimura Suzuki announced it has signed Stewart to ride the RM-Z450, starting with the 2012 AMA Motocross season opener in Sacramento, Calif., on May 19.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the team. It’s been a pleasure to get to test with these guys and meet the team,” says Stewart. I’m very excited, I love the bike and ever since I rode it from day one I knew it was a great opportunity for me to come out and showcase my talent.
Stewart last raced a full season of AMA Motocross in 2008 where he had a perfect season, winning all 24 motos.
“James is a great addition to our team,” says Don Sakakura, president of Yoshimura Racing. “He is an amazing rider and gifted athlete and we feel very fortunate to have him join Yoshimura Suzuki. We will do everything possible to help ensure his and the team’s success. Our company has been built on racing and winning Championships and we intend to keep that tradition alive with James and his incredible skill on a motorcycle.”
[Source: JGRMX, Yoshimura Suzuki]