DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR 3: Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Josh Herrin believes the Daytona 200 is his race to win after fighting off a cold and cold, windy weather to set the fastest time in Wednesday night practice for Friday's season-opening Daytona SportBike race.Herrin lapped the 3.55-mile, 12-turn Daytona International Speedway in a time of 1:50.379 mins. The time was slower than the best from last year's first night session, but that was partly because of the conditions. The temperature was in the high 40's, with a light wind and the track was sandy and green.What encouraged Herrin was that, not only did he take two seconds off his first practice session time, but he did the lap with Monster M4 Suzuki's Martin Cardenas in his draft and nearly matched the time on his own.
"We got the time ... think, with Cardenas behind us in the draft, so it helped us a little bit, but then this last session out, we went by ourselves and we were like .010 sec. off the best time by ourselves," he said. Then he added, "I mean I don't like to sound cocky or anything, but it's our race to win. We've got the perfect bike, we've got the perfect crew, I've got the perfect surroundings around me this year. We've got the experience last year of the race, so I think it should be a good year for us."Despite a year away from racing under the lights, Herrin had no trouble adapting in the first night session."It was really easy," he said. "Bell has this blue shield that they set up for me and it's really good with the glare. It feels like I'm riding out in overcast weather. It's really good."For some reason I've had a cold for the past three, four days. But I rode this morning; it was worse than it was at night. I don't know why, but I felt a lot better tonight, so that's good considering the race is at night. We're ready."Herrin was not only fast during the session, but he was also consistent, as was Team Latus Motors Racing's Steve Rapp, who tied for the second fastest time (1:50.427) with Cardenas."Everybody else besides Rapp-because he's got a fast bike-went fast in the draft and my time seemed the same when I was by myself and I found a couple of tricks that I didn't know about last year on the banking and I think it'll be really good for us," Herrin said. "We have a good shot at pole."
1. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:50.379
2. Steve Rapp (Ducati) 1:50.427
3. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:50.427
4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:51.077
5. Dane Westby (Yamaha) 1:51.273
6. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:51.494
7. Jake Holden (Ducati) 1:51.885
8. Shawn Higbee (Buell) 1:52.283
9. Brett McCormick (Suzuki) 1:52.393
10. Fernando Amantini (Kawasaki) 1:52.722