James Stewart overcame an injury in practice to finish eighth in his debut Supercross ride for Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing at Saturday's opening round of the AMA/ FIM World Supercross Championship at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.
After putting down some blisteringly-hot laps on his RM-Z450 and posting the fastest qualifying time at the end of practice, Stewart tweaked his right knee and wound up riding conservatively in the night's Main Event.
After icing and elevating his leg and opting-out of the opening ceremonies to rest, Stewart put in a smart ride in his eight-lap heat race, getting a great start and leading the first half of the race before finishing third. In the 20-lap Main Event, Stewart again played it safe and simply kept it on two wheels. As a result, the two-time AMA Supercross Champion finished in the top 10 and was happy to pick-up as many points as possible in just the first race in a long 17-round series.
Said Stewart: "Things started out pretty good. We were fastest in practice and top qualifier. We had some really good speed and the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was working great all day. Then I had a little mishap in practice; I didn't fall over, I just caught my knee wrong. That turned my night around right there, because up until then I felt like we had a win in us. We finished eighth, but to be honest, I feel like I won the race. Now I'll go and get it checked out and if everything is good with the knee, we'll continue on to Phoenix next week and hopefully get on a roll. My main competition finished eight spots behind me so we're right there in points. Now we just need to go back and figure it out for next week."
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's next event is the second round of the 2013 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, January 12th, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.
Anaheim 1 450 Supercross Results:
1. Davi Millsaps (Rockstar Energy Suzuki) 2. Trey Canard (Honda) 3. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 4. Chad Reed (Honda) 5. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 6. Andrew Short (Honda) 7. Justin Barcia (Honda) 8. James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki) 9. Justin Brayton (Yamaha) 10. Kevin Windham (Honda) 18. Broc Tickle (RCH Suzuki)