Australian Michael Byrne will fill in for the injured Josh Grant on the Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGRMX Yamaha Team beginning this Saturday night at Anaheim II. In the days leading up to the opening round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, Grant fell while practicing and injured his shoulder. Even though he qualified for the main event at Anaheim I, Grant was in too much pain to start the final and underwent surgery to repair the shoulder less than a week later. Grant will be out of action for at least six weeks.
Last week, the JGR team contacted Byrne who, for the last several years, was a factory-backed rider for both Kawasaki and Suzuki. Unable to secure a factory ride during the off-season, Byrne showed up at Anaheim I and the Phoenix Supercross as a full-on privateer riding a Kawasaki, though he did receive some help from his friend and fellow Australian Chad Reed.
"Michael Byrne is one of my best friends," Reed said of Byrne prior to Anaheim I. "He went from a factory Suzuki last year being teammates with me to buying production Kawasakis and buying parts from the local distributors. So I help with whatever I can and I'm helping him with some parts for the bike. It's tough. When you go to Australia and stuff, nobody really understands what an effect this economy has taken."
Last week, however, Byrne got the call from JGR and started riding Grant's Yamaha on Monday.
"He is the best one out there," said JGR team manager Coy Gibbs. "We want two guys on our team, and he was the first to come to mind."
Gibbs says that Byrne is adapting quite well to the Yamaha.
"We're currently in Atlanta testing at his house," said Gibbs. "We've made a couple of minor changes but other than that he's feeling good on the bike. Luckily we've been able to test out of the rain, but he should do well at Anaheim if it's muddy - he's got long legs."
Gibbs says that Byrne will fill in for Grant for six weeks "then we'll see what happens," he said.
As for Grant, Gibbs says that he's doing well after having arthroscopic surgery last Friday.
"He's pretty sore and can't move his arm for two weeks," but he's doing pretty good.