San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart has admitted that he struggled to match the race pace of Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s series leader Ryan Dungey when he made his professional return to the Lucas Oils AMA Motocross Championship on Saturday.
In his first national since 2008, Stewart scored third in moto one at Unadilla before pulling out of moto two, returning from a broken wrist suffered at round three of the supercross series.
After his tussle with European star Clement Desalle and Dungey in the first dash of the day Stewart was unable to complete the distance of the second but it hopeful of his form for the rest of the calendar and has a sufficient base from which to work.
“I knew I wasn’t going to be 100-percent coming in here, but I can’t take anything away from those guys,” the 24-year-old said. “They were riding really good and I didn’t have anything for them. I’m confident in myself and my team that things will only improve from here.”
San Manuel team manager Larry Brooks said the event was a great learning experience for the team.
“This was a learning experience for our team,” Brooks said. “Though many of us have years of motocross racing experience, as a team we have not raced motocross in a long time. We had some challenges but we learned a lot today and will do what it takes to improve before Southwick.”
Stewart is slated to contest the remaining AMA dates in Southwick, Steel City and Pala to round out the 2010 season despite missing out on selection in the Team USA Motocross of Nations squad.