Josh Day scored ESP/ Venemotos Yamaha's third successive AMA Pro Racing victory at the Big Kahuna Nationals in Virginia. The ESP/ Venemotos Yamaha team arrived at VIR still riding a wave of momentum from their first two victories at the previous AMA rounds in Mid-Ohio and Topeka. The new front end setting that the ESP crew found at Mid-Ohio continued to work for Day at VIR. The feeling from the front end allowed Josh to quickly lower his lap times, he was the first competitor into the 1:29's, while running a comfortable pace.
The ESP/ Venemotos crew continued to fine tune the setup of the R6 based on Josh's Daytona Sportbike race on Saturday for the Four Feathers squad. The Orlando native was the class of the field, leading every session leading up to the race.
Starting from pole, Josh rocketed away at the start, only to have his efforts nullified by an early red flag and restart. With the grid reformed for the restart, only Day and Mercado were still on the front row-the other two riders both victims of the red flag. When the lights went out for the second time, Attack Kawasaki's Leandro Mercado was right on Josh's tail. The two kept showing each other a wheel in corner after corner and it looked liked it was going to be a race long battle. As they entered the last corner in the early laps, Leandro crashed out, leaving Josh all by himself out front. Although other competitors finally entered the 1:29's, Josh was the only rider to do every lap in the 29's and eventually crossed the finish line with a 9.8 second gap to second place.
With the victory, Josh clinched the Supersport East Championship with one round remaining. The championship represents both Day's and ESP's first AMA Pro Racing title.
Josh Day Speaks... (2009 AMA Pro Racing Supersport East Champion)
"We did it. Going into this season, we didn't know what to expect. We started out at Daytona with a borrowed R6 and the ESP guys working on it. With help from Steve Liberatore at Yamaha, we were able to purchase a 2009 R6. Phil, Evan, and Willy took it back to the ESP shop, built it, and brought it to all the races. We struggled a little more than we thought we would with the new bike in the beginning of the season, but once we figured out the front end setting at Mid Ohio, the bike was a lot more comfortable and easy to ride hard. From where we started at the beginning of the season, with a borrowed bike, no budget, and wondering if we could afford to do all the races, it sure does feel good to wrap up this championship."
Evan Steel Speaks...
"Phew. Knowing you are capable of winning races and championships and actually doing it are two different things. We knew we could build Josh a competitive R6 and we knew he was fast enough to win races. Now, we've proved it. Josh has won the last three races on an ESP built R6, set four poles, and clinched the championship with one race to go. Everyone knows we don't have a big truck, or big budget, or sometimes even a razor, but with Josh Day's riding talent and an ESP built R6 we beat those guys. Our hope is to carry this success and momentum into the 2010 season."