I have been working with Jason since last year and we have done a number of custom one off helmets for him. I was pleased when Arai approached me in the summer of 2011 and said they liked his design so much that they wanted to make it into a replica and be a part of their 2012 graphics line. It is extremely rare that Arai makes a replica for a rider who hasn’t won a major championship so it was an honor to be chosen. We hope that this is just the beginning of a great partnership between Censport and Arai helmets.
It was an up and down weekend for Josh for sure. He finished the second free practice in 10th place in difficult wet/dry conditions. On Saturday for FP3 it was clear and dry and Josh was way off the pace and dead last. On to qualifying where again there were tricking conditions with spitting rain and a damp track where Josh again was at the back of the field and qualified dead last, over 4 seconds off the leaders time. On race day during warm up Josh took a big gamble and went out on slicks on a cold damp track and was the fastest rider by a second and a half! from chump to champ, in the sessions leading up to the race anyway. The race was an exciting one for sure and probably the best race of the season as far as on track action and close finishes. Four riders were taken out on the first turn on the first lap which included Nicky Hayden, Valentino Rossi, Randy DePuniet, and Alvaro Bautista. Josh missed the collision and sat in 10th place for most of the race, but as rain started to fall towards the end of the race and the track being dry in some sections and wet in others Josh put the heat on and worked his way up to 7th. Josh will stay in Valencia for another couple of days and take part in the test session on Tuesday. Well played Josh! way to keep your head and bring it home in one piece!
Due to injuries sustained in the fatal crash at Sepang which claimed the life of Marco Simoncelli, Colin Edwards was forced to withdraw from the event with a broken bone in his elbow. Josh Hayes was to partake in the official test on Monday following the race as a reward for winning his second AMA Superbike Championship for Yamaha. Since Hayes was already going to be in Valencia the Tech 3 Yamaha team decided to have Hayes fill in for Colin and compete in the final round of the 2011 MotoGP season. Josh has zero expectations and no pressure as a fill in rider so this is more for an experience for Josh than a competition. Obviously Josh wants to do his best on the machine and be competitive but he is realistic about his chances when riding on a bike he has never ridden, against the best riders in the world, and on a track he has never been on. Regardless, Censport is very happy for Josh for this opportunity and very happy to have a helmet on the MotoGP grid. Due to the late announcement we did not have time to paint a special helmet to match the Tech 3 colors so he will wear his helmets from the 2011 AMA season. Good luck Josh!
Photos by Andrew Wheeler and Vicki Schouten
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