Welcome to our weekly web-exclusive column, Transmoto USA Insider Presented By Lucas Oil. Penned each week by our man on the ground, Transmoto's US Correspondent, Jason Weigandt, USA Insider presents the story-behind-the-stories of the AMA supercross and motocross scene.
Clearly, James Stewart's switch to Yoshimura Suzuki has worked out brilliantly, as he is undefeated at 4-0 in motos so far in this Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in the U.S. But things aren't so well over at his old team, JGR/Toyota MX.
It started well enough for Davi Millsaps, who finished a very strong second (behind Stewart) in the opening moto of the year at Hangtown last weekend. But then he crashed a few days ago and injured just about everything in his abdomen, and was unable to race at round two in Texas. Ouch.
The Stewart replacement is Kyle Regal, who just happens to not be very good friends with Stewart. Regal has logged solid top-five scores in U.S. MX as a privateer, so he was expected to run up front this year on a solid team like JGR. Instead, he struggled big time with set-up at the opener, and then crashed while leading on the first lap in Texas. Bike problems later dropped him from the moto. He rebounded to eighth in moto two, which is encouraging.
The JGR squad would like to think Stewart would have the same level of success he's having on the Suzuki if he was still on board their bike - and they could be right. But for the moment, the team is struggling to remain on the high level they hoped to be when they signed Stewart late last year.
Meanwhile, Kawasaki is struggling just to keep riders on the track, which is a big change from last season, when Dean Wilson and Ryan Villopoto captured both titles. Villopoto is out for the year with a torn ACL, and his replacement, Tyla Rattray, broke his hand and is out until the halfway point (and the team will leave the bike vacant until then). Wilson is also done for the season with shoulder surgery. Wilson still has a year of supercross lites eligibility left, and although his contract is up and he could start shopping for a 450 ride, chances are he'll stay back and race for the Supercross Lites title that has eluded him.
That's a shame in some ways, because it would be great to see Wilson take on the (hopefully healthy) Reed, Villopoto, Canard pack next year, along with the always-game Dungey and rejuvenated Stewart, as well as Justin Barcia. We'll see which way Wilson goes.