Malcolm Stewart will sit out 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season

For the second year in a row, Malcolm Stewart will be watching the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship from the sidelines.

GEICO Honda confirmed in a press release that Stewart will forego the outdoor season in order to prepare for 2017.

Over the weekend, Stewart captured the 250 Class East Region supercross championship -- his first major title as a pro. He won just two of the nine rounds along the way but was relatively consistent, finishing on the podium at six different rounds (including the East/West Shootout in Las Vegas.)

Because of supercross rules around "pointing out," Stewart will be forced to move up to the 450 Class full-time next year. The team cites the required preparation for his move to the big bike in 2017 as the impetus for Stewart sitting out the motocross season.

"Now that I have won my first 250 SX championship, I know firsthand just how much work it takes to become a champion," Stewart said via a team statement from GEICO Honda. "So as I move full-time to the 450 Class for 2017, I know it will take twice as much work and preparation. Not riding the outdoors this year will leave me plenty of time to prepare for my 450 SX and MX pro debut."


Malcolm Stewart raced 450MX in 2013 and 2014. (Photo: Matt Rice)

Stewart last raced the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in 2014. He competed in the 450 Class that year (only outdoors, not in supercross) and had the look of a consistent performer, finishing inside the top ten in nine of the first 11 motos to start the season. But midway through the season, he encountered major health problems when a case of severe dehydration led to kidney issues and forced him to miss the final five rounds of the season.

Despite being healthy last year, Stewart subsequently sat out the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign, as his initial deal with GEICO Honda that year was originally just for supercross.

The GEICO Honda team this summer will feature four 250MX riders: Christian Craig, RJ Hampshire, Jordon Smith and rookie Tristan Charboneau, who will make his pro debut at Hangtown. The team will also have Justin Bogle contesting the 450MX Class.