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Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team

Dee Cee Jeans Racing Team

Teenage Australian motorcycle racer Ant West improved his best lap time by more than 1-second in today´s second and final qualifying session to qualify 19th for tomorrow´s 500cc Catalunya Grand Prix in Spain.

The 19-year-old 500cc rookie today clocked a quickest qualifying lap of 1-minute 48.958-secs around the 4.7km Barcelona circuit on his Dee Cee Racing Honda V-Twin in dry conditions. He set the time on his 21st of 24 laps in the session, and it was 1.016-secs faster than his best lap of 1-minute 49.974-secs in yesterday´s opening qualifying session.

West´s qualifying time was 3.451-secs behind the pole position winning lap of 1-min 45.507-secs set by 500cc world championship leader Valentino Rossi of Italy on a Nastro Azzuro Honda four cylinder machine.

In total, West rode 94 laps in the two qualifying sessions and two practice sessions over the past two days at Catalunya in preparation for the sixth round of this year´s 500cc world championship.

Before arriving at Catalunya, West took part in a two-day test at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands on June 6-7. The test offered him the opportunity to further evaluate a new frame, which he used for the first time in the previous championship round at Mugello in Italy on June 3.

West has scored world championship points in two of the three 500cc races he has started this year, for finishing 14th at Welkom in South Africa on April 22, and 15th at Jerez in Spain on May 6. He missed the French round at Le Mans on May 20 after cracking his left wrist, and crashed at Mugello.

ANT WEST QUOTES: ´Yesterday I had a lot of trouble with chatter from the front, going into the corners. Overnight we changed the forks and revised some of the valves for the damping, and it´s been a lot better today. In fact I was a bit quicker this morning in free practice than in qualifying. In the afternoon there was a fair bit of wind coming head-on down the straight, which hurt my top speed. My arm is a lot better now. It´s not painful and not causing me any trouble. We tested at Assen after the last GP (at Mugello) and I needed it to be strapped then. Now I don´t need anything at all. I have a new mechanic which has improved things in the pit for me. He is Graeme Beere, who was my mechanic when I was doing dirt-track in Australia, and worked with me on the 250 in ´99. The test at Assen was good because it gave me time on the bike with the new frame. It´s more rigid than what we´d used before, and it´s got an adjustable steering head. I tried lifting the bike a little higher, and overall it´s better-balanced now. We also fixed the carburation problem we had a Mugello.´

500cc, 2001

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