Stewart Signs with Yoshimura Suzuki

AMA Supercross/Motocross JS7 News

Following a year on the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha, two-time AMA Supercross Championship has signed a “multi-year” contract with Yoshimura Suzuki Racing, effective immediately.

Stewart’s first outing on the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 with teammate Brett Metcalfe will be at the first round of the 2012 AMA Motocross Championship, which gets underway with the Hangtown Classic in Sacramento, Calif., May 19.

James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki Racing RM-Z450 Supercross) says: “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. 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.

“With Mike Webb as the Team Manager and Don Sakakura the President of Yoshimura Racing, it’s been great what they’ve been doing. The whole team is phenomenal. We’re all excited to get the ball rolling and see what we can do over the next few years. I just want to thank everyone at Yoshimura and American Suzuki for giving me this opportunity.”

The Yosh Suzuki team reports that Webb, long-time Team Suzuki mechanic,Lee McCollum and the rest of the Yoshimura Suzuki squad will support Stewart in his run for the 2012 AMA Motocross Championship and beyond.

Mike Webb says: “We’re extremely pleased with the announcement of James joining the Yoshimura Suzuki team. We all look forward to working with James and a rider of his calibre. We feel very confident we can provide him with the equipment that he needs to ride to his capability. We’re working hard right now – though we don’t have a lot of time – but we’re very focused on getting ready for Hangtown and we’re definitely looking forward to the opener.”

Don Sakakura says: “James is a great addition to our team. 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.”

Stewart, who began racing at the age of four, is one of the most decorated riders in motocross history. The 26-year-old won the first of a record-breaking 11 amateur national championships by age six.

When Stewart turned professional in 2002, he won the Lites AMA Motocross Championship in his rookie year.

After claiming another Lites AMA Motocross title and two Lites AMA Supercross Championships, he moved up to the premier class for the 2005 season. Stewart has since won two AMA Supercross titles and an AMA Motocross Championship (winning every moto in the process), becoming the first African American to win a major motorsports championship.

In 2012 Supercross Stewart had some issues, though, fracturing a bone in his hand at Indy SX. The injuries caused the two-time AMA Supercross Champion to miss out on the Indy round, and the subsequent three at Toronto, Houston and New Orleans.

And while absent at Houston, Villopoto clinched the 2012 AMA Supercross Championship. Stewart then missed the rest of the 2012 season, finishing seventh overall with 178 points.