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5 Minutes with... Josh Grant

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Josh Grant is a proven race winner and among the most talented riders on the AMA circuit. For 2009, he’s making the jump from the 250cc class to the 450cc class, racing for the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha team. Along with that change comes a new place to live (in North Carolina), a new brand of bikes (from Honda to Yamaha) and a new attitude. We caught up with Josh at the Yamaha Team Introduction last Friday, and this is what he had to say.

  • Josh Grant at the Bercy Supercross
  • Josh is happy with his new team situation
Racer X: What has this change from Honda to Yamaha been like for you?
Josh Grant: Switching to Yamaha, for me, was pretty easy. It was just a process that took some time. It’s kind of hard to put into words, because I’ve been with Honda pretty much since I got on 80s. It’s been about eight years. So riding a different brand, it was tough at first just to get used to seeing a different-color front fender. I’m pretty excited about it, though. I’ve done a bunch of testing these last few months, and it’s really going well. I feel like I have a good, comfortable style, and I’m comfortable on the bike.

James Stewart has commented that he thinks the Yamaha turns better than his Kawasaki did. What differences have you seen in the switch from a Honda to the Yamaha?
Switching from a Lites bike to a 450 was the biggest change for me. It wasn’t really so much of a handling thing or anything like that. It’s just a new bike, and it’s a different feeling. I feel like my style’s changed up a little bit since I started riding the Yamaha. I feel more aggressive and I feel like I can attack more on the bike and I can push my limits on it. That’s the most comfortable thing for me.

So you raced at Bercy, and you were up front until you wadded your bike up. What did it do for your confidence to know that you can ride up front with the top guys?
Coming into Bercy, with all the testing and how much riding we’ve been doing, I felt really comfortable. With the plane flight and the time change over there and everything, and then everything wasn’t set up right – and Bercy has never been very good to me anyway... I put it behind me and I’m just looking forward to the season coming up. But I feel fast on the bike, and I feel comfortable. This change has been good for me, and it’s not just good for me in racing, but in everything.

So you’re living in North Carolina now, right?
Yeah.

What has that adjustment been like?
That adjustment isn’t hard. I had a house in Florida that I lived in during the summer and during some of the supercross races, so moving from Florida up to North Carolina wasn’t a big change, but for me, being up there and being surrounded by the guys at the team like Coy [Gibbs] and Jeremy [Albrecht] and everybody, and having the gym and trainer and everything on-call, it’s awesome. It’s a good feeling.

What would make you happy results-wise for 2009?
Before I started really testing and riding a bunch, I told myself that my goals would definitely be top-ten, no doubt. But since then, I’ve been riding, and seeing how well I’ve been riding on the bike, I feel like it’s a realistic goal to get on the podium. So, for me, that’s what I’m going to shoot for every weekend – to get on the podium – and if I get some race wins, that would be awesome. But right now, I just don’t want to make too big of a promise to myself. I just want to do what I can do.
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