As the guys here at MX Vice touched on here, we were all surprised to see James and Malcolm Stewart roll out some Yamaha’s for their ride day. Never mind the Brian Deegan Instagram post that hinted at some “things" coming together. In fact I basically hung out with Malcolm for eighty percent of my time in Lille last week and there was no word of a Yamaha, no talk about blue being his favorite color or anything. Mookie seemed determined to be racing at Anaheim as a privateer, but to be fair he told me he didn’t know what brand he would ride.
Now I hung out with Deegan quite a bit years ago when he rode for Moto XXX and he was a jokester, so maybe that was all his post was about? Who knows? The fact that James was even on a Yamaha was amazing to me. The last time he rode blue was when he crashed at the Houston supercross in 2012, left the bike on its side and walked off. The JGR Yamaha years for Stew had some wins, but a lot of crashes and issues. The all-new backwards moto YZ450F did not agree with James or for that matter a lot of riders.
There have been some rigidity issues with the frame, which have been addressed since ‘12 and the bike is more predictable and stable than it was back then, but Stewart and Yamaha was still a bad divorce. It’s amazing he’s back on one.
So, what’s up with this? Well, I’m like you guys and kind of in the dark. It’s November 17th as I type this and I have a hard time wrapping my head around any team having the budget, whether it’s for bikes and support or for salary, to carry both Stewart brothers. I’ve always said that I thought James would have to invest in himself and get his own team going to prove he’s back and capable like Chad Reed in 2011.
Even if he’s doing exactly that, he’s doing it on a Yamaha? This would be the ultimate WWE (that’s wrestling) move with Yamaha getting spurned by long-time partner JGR and then turning around and giving the support that they had for JGR to Cycle Trader for both Stewart brothers! Who’s the team manager, Hulk Hogan?
If this happens what does it mean for Dean Wilson who looks like he’s been in line to get some Yamaha help for Star Yamaha in 450SX and then factory Yamaha in 450MX. Does Yamaha have enough money for all that?
Now Mookie, sure, I get that he’s on the rise and someone would be smart to help him out. He’s not going to cost as much as James and he’s younger, but, by all accounts that I hear, the brothers want to stay together if possible. Through the whole weekend in Lille, not one mention of a Yamaha from anyone?
Stay tuned, as this thing’s probably going to get even weirder.
Just back from Lille, as I mentioned, and still impressed with how great Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin was. He was untouchable all weekend long and his off-season is going great. I was doing a live chat today over at Racer X and someone asked me if Musquin can win a race this year and I said for sure. I mean, he came within a half a lap of winning Atlanta this year.
Then I started thinking of the other guys that I said would win a race this year. The obvious is Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, right? Jason Anderson won two races last year, so you have to think he’s in. Cole Seely is, I feel, an emerging rider who can win. Then you have rookie Cooper Webb who’s a badass and should win, right? That’s six, so add Marvin and you have seven. What about Chad Reed? Didn’t win one last year, but he came close and he’s won a ton. Trey Canard’s got some wins, so why can’t he do it again on the new KTM?
Simply put, there’s not enough races to go around for all these guys I mentioned to win. No way do eight different dudes win races in 2017. That’s not how this sport works, in case you haven’t been paying attention. So, yeah, I’m not sure who’s going to win, but I do know all those names I mentioned above are going to be pissed if they don’t win a race in 2017. That makes for some great racing!
Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Suzuki Racing