"No Doubt I Would Be in the Top Three" | Malcolm Stewart on Where He Would Be if he was Currently Racing 3

Malcolm Stewart tells us how his knee surgery recovery is going, how the injury occurred, where he would fit in if still racing, and some contract talk.

Malcolm Stewart came into the second season of his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna contract ready to prove he can win. He led laps at the Anaheim 1 opener and followed that up with being the fastest qualifier and winning his heat in San Diego. Unfortunately, he crashed in both of those Main Events and did not get the results he could. The following week, he crashed while testing, resulting in knee surgery. Malcolm has not reached his full potential on a 450 as of yet. Only time will tell if he gets to that next step of his career. On a recent episode of the MotoXpod Show Malcolm discussed his injury recovery, contract negotiations, and much more. The interview was conducted by Jamie Guida, Scotty Thomson, and Lewis Phillips.

For the full interview, check out https://www.vitalmx.com/features/motoxpod-show-ep-264-ft-malcolm-stewart-and-cullin-park. Also, if you would like to watch the video version from the MotoXpod Show click the link below.


If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

Jamie Guida – Vital MX: Let’s start with how the knee surgery recovery is going.

Malcolm Stewart: It's been going really well, actually. I’ve been doing physical therapy at least three, or four days a week. It's just a process, man. It's a lot to take in. I always try to tell people it's not easy. I just remember walking in the hospital and next, I'm getting wheeled out of it. It's all the little stuff in life you take for granted and it's almost a little reset button. You have these little short-term goals and keep working from there. So, that's pretty much been my whole deal. I guess I'd say it's not fun, but we're five weeks in now. I’m starting to see some light at the end of this tunnel.

Lewis Phillips: Are you a guy who can actually watch the races while you're injured? Or is it tough for you to do mentally?

Malcolm: Saturday nights are the worst nights for me out of the week. It's tough, but at the same time, things could be worse. In the beginning, when this first happened to me and I didn't race Anaheim 2, that really ate me alive. Having to accept that we have to run through these steps. I guess that was my biggest battle, accepting that the whole Supercross season is done. Watching the guys on the weekends while you're sitting on the sideline, there's nothing I can do about it. So yeah, it does bum you out a little bit. I’m in the stage now when I watch the race I'm just learning what I can do when I come back to racing. It's not like, “Oh man, I know I can beat this guy or beat that guy.” That part of me is already gone. It's more just watching those guys and learning the mistakes, and how these guys are racing. It's more information for me. So, whenever I come back racing, I'll be ready to go.

Scotty Thomson – MotoXpod Show: With the speed you showed last season and early on this season, and seeing the way things have unfolded, where would you put yourself in the mix at this point?

Malcolm: Basing off of everything I did last year, there's no doubt that I would be running in the top three. You guys know how racing goes. Ten rounds or so deep now you can see how quickly things can change. Literally with one lap to go. Cooper (Webb) hasn't been necessarily the fastest guy for the last few rounds, but he's been the most consistent guy there. I just look at him like me last year, being in the race the entire time. I'm not trying to compare apples to apples. There's a reason why Cooper is a two-time champion. But at the end of the day, it's just about learning. That's where I'm at. I'm watching these guys and learning how things could be. It's definitely been an interesting season watching some of the guys that should be up there, but they're not up there. It's definitely a weird year.

Octopi Media

Scotty: Whom would you be the most fearful of? Would you be scared of Cooper, Eli, or Chase at this point?

Malcolm: Honestly, I guess there's an ego thing so I have to say I ain't scared of any of those guys. But Coop's always going to be a guy. He's going to be there at the tail end no matter what. Chase is probably one of the fastest guys, hands down on the race track every weekend. He proves that by being the fastest qualifier. So, as far as raw speed, he's definitely up there. (Jason) Anderson's a mystery, man. We don't really know exactly how he is. It just depends on how he ends up and how his night starts for him. Eli's probably the biggest mystery because there are times when he'll show up and he can blow everybody's doors off. Then there are times when he doesn’t feel it, or some things don't go his way and he can get fifth or worse. It's definitely a different guy from this year to last year. But I guess Anderson is having the same issues. Again, it's racing. Nobody knows exactly what's happening inside that tent. We all go through face-to-face issues. When you're looking at it from a rider's perspective you can relate and see this guy is holding on tight, they're having arm pump or stuff like that. Certain riders, you know that don't normally fade or you wouldn't think have these problems. It could be injury-prone, sickness, or they’re not comfortable with the bike. Or they’re just struggling with the track. There are so many things that still surprise us. We're not always going to be the fastest guy every weekend. That's what makes us racers. You know, it's always interesting.

Jamie: People may forget you led A1 for a little bit. You were en route to a podium before the mishap. Speed-wise and comfort-wise, coming into this season, I feel you were the best you've ever been on a 450.

Malcolm: I was definitely coming in, not necessarily with a chip on my shoulder, but starting where I left off. I just wanted to take things nice and easy. I'll never forget Anaheim 1. I was leading, and I for some reason, I was like, “Man, I have arm pump right now. This sucks.” But I think it was because of the way the track was pretty sticky and nasty. Everybody was struggling. It's Anaheim 1, right? You know, it's your very first race. So, all the training you've done in October and now it's here. I had that crash at A1 and that sucked with basically two laps to go. Then we go to San Diego and have one of the best rides of my life in the Heat race. Then we make a small mistake in the Main Event and it's like, “Dude, come on now. What is going on?” The next week we have a crash on Tuesday and mess my knee up. It was a black cloud covering me. I always say, “God has a plan. It could be worse.” I could be in a way worse situation than this. Unfortunately, when I found out about my knee, around that same time, a few hours later, my teammate in the 250 class, Jalek Swoll, got injured. It sounds super messed up, but I kind of felt a little relieved because I felt his pain. He didn't even get a chance to line up behind the gate to show anything. I was like, “At least you got to see something.” I won a heat race. I was the fastest qualifier. I was able to lead some laps. There was some type of positivity that I can take out for the short amount of time that I was dealt with versus a guy like him that's been training for four months and didn't even get a chance to line up in the gate. I couldn't imagine how he felt, you know what I mean? It's part of racing. This is what we do for a living, and we love every bit of it. But sometimes reality kicks in and you take those little moments for granted.

Lewis: What actually happened in your practice crash that messed up your knee? I don't think I've actually heard it from your side. Can you walk us through it a little bit?

Malcolm: It was a typical Tuesday at the KTM track just doing laps. I came over this little hip double. It was really slow. You kind of load the bike and as soon as I landed, I washed the front end out and my leg got stuck under the bike somehow, and it just wrapped up. When it first happened, I was like, “That really, really hurt. That was kind of weird.” When I went to get back on the bike, that's when I said, “Okay, something doesn't feel right.” I pulled off the track and when I went to go put my bike on the stand and did that twist to put it on the stand, that's when I felt something was really not connected in the knee, that dislocating feel. But yeah, it was that crash and I guess I can laugh about it. As soon as I got up and rode off the track, literally a lap later, RJ (Hampshire) crashes in the exact same turn. That turn was just biting everybody. It was one of those jumps that were really slow, nothing was out of the ordinary. It wasn't riding over my head. I was riding really, really well. Like I said, I put everything behind me that happened on the weekend and focused forward, and boom. I couldn't tell you how many millions of crashes I've had like that. But you guys already know it's all about how it happens. I just think my foot got stuck up under the bike and somehow, I twisted and that's what happened.

Octopi Media

Lewis: The first two rounds were very positive for you from a speed perspective, but the results didn't match up to that. I'm guessing going into the week before A2 you had your mind set on redemption and you haven't had a chance to get that redemption. Did that make the injury even tougher to swallow?

Malcolm: Of course, we were so close at Anaheim 1, and then the Heat race, we set ourselves up. You couldn't set yourself up in any better situation for going to the Main Event. Then that happens. You say to yourself, “What is going on? What am I doing wrong?”  I wasn't overthinking it, but I remember leaving Saturday night from San Diego and as soon as I got home, I completely forgot about what happened that night. It was a reset button. I guess I felt like that little bit of redemption was between Anaheim to San Diego. We were originally supposed to go to Oakland, and they canceled Oakland. So, it was another week prolonging that redemption. Once I won that Heat race and I was the fastest qualifier, it relieved me a lot. There was some type of positivity that I left with that night. It would be worse if I didn't do any of that and then crashed on a Tuesday. That would have hurt. The most positive way I can truly look at this was I left knowing I still had speed. I still have it. If you're looking at the results on the paper, it's not there for sure. Hands down. All my bosses, that's what they look at. But I believe a lot of my team, they believe, and they see a lot of things in me. Anybody that knows how I came into this year, you can't say that I didn't try to start where I left off last year.

Scotty: There have been comparisons between the Lawrence Brothers and what you and James had. What do you think the narrative would be if you and James had been a little bit closer in age? Would you have liked to have more races with James?

Malcolm: No. I guess we did share some races and stuff like that. But I honestly think if we were closer, we probably would have been fighting each other more. But no, I never really looked at it like that, to be honest. I would say if my brother was in his prime and I was close in age, I probably wouldn't even be able to hold a candle to him. But yeah, it's cool when you're racing with your brother, like the Lawrence brothers. I have nothing but pure respect for those guys. I think it's awesome that two brothers are out there dominating like that. I think that's cool. It's good for the sport. There are a lot of other families and brothers that can come up and do the exact same thing. We see the Hill brothers doing it. My brother and I did it at certain races. I think it's just cool, just a brotherhood thing that is mutual respect.

Jamie: You talked about the team knowing what you had, even though you hadn't shown it on paper completely. Have there been any talks of a contract extension? Can you tell us what the plan is?

Malcolm: Yeah, of course, there are always talks and stuff like that. Nothing's done at this moment. We're still pretty early in the stage for that. We've had these talks but as far as signing papers or anything like that, it hasn't necessarily come up yet. Of course, it's in the works, but I really can't say too much about that, but there are talks about it.

Octopi Media

Jamie: What's the recovery time for this surgery? Do you know when you'll be back on a bike? Approximately?

Malcolm: Honestly, a typical ACL you're dealing with for six months. That's the rule of thumb. But I don't know because I've done a little bit more on this thing, but it depends on how the recovery process goes on my side. I'm doing everything I can to try to hurry up and get back. I've never done one before, so I'm already having a hard time just trying to walk right now. Once I get the ball rolling, I should have a little bit more of a time frame. Right now, we're shooting for a six-month process.

Lewis: Is there pressure for you to come back sooner rather than later? Like you just said, it sounds like a contract is in the works, so you don't have that pressure. But if it takes the whole year to recover from this thing, do you have reassurance from the team that you can take your time? Or do you feel some sort of pressure to get back and deliver some results?

Malcolm: Of course, you want to come back and rush, but as far as the team, they all understand, and they respect it. Again, we're obviously talking and trying to work things out for the following year. But I'm a racer, so I want to come back as fast as I can. At the same time, I don't want to rush back and be in a situation where I re-injured this thing or have a problem with it in the future. I'm not panicking to a point where I need to rush back or anything like that. I'm just taking it day by day. Once I feel comfortable enough to take this knee to the next step, that's when I'm going to get back on the motorcycle. It is a contract year. So yeah, I could be left without anything going into the next year. I've been in these situations before, so I know what to expect and what to do. But at the same time, there's not a lot I can do right now except to take care of this knee.

Jamie: On the mental side, we see what these three guys that are going for a championship are dealing with. A month ago, Eli talked about enjoying this battle with the two other guys. I think just this last week, he said it's not so much fun anymore. You're having to mentally deal with an injury and missing the season and trying to figure out how to balance that. It's a lot to take in when you're a professional athlete and you're supposed to be performing.

Malcolm: Yeah. The window is so short, and it can just be gone just like that. That's how I always try to explain it to people, my friends, and my family. There's so much pressure on us. The life of an athlete is a massive roller coaster. The good is good and the bad is bad. It was bad a few weeks ago, but now we're starting to get on the good part of the daily life stuff. I'm breaking it all the way down into stages. Let's start to walk correctly. From there you start working on squatting. Then we can work on spinning on the bike. There are so many stages that I have to gain before I even think about throwing my leg on a motorcycle. Earlier when we were talking about Saturday night, at first there was anger and all that. But then it was like, “Well, before I even get to that on TV again, I have to be able to walk.” That's my motivation right now.

Octopi Media

Lewis: We all know what your strength as a racer is. It's speed. But what do you think your biggest weakness is?

Malcolm: I don't know if I can answer that. If I tell that, then I feel like the riders will catch me. But let's put it this way myself. I'll be good by next year. Put it that way. When I come back to Supercross, all those weaknesses that people think about me, they're going to be on point.



View replies to: "No Doubt I Would Be in the Top Three" | Malcolm Stewart on Where He Would Be if he was Currently Racing


The Latest