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Ant West explains his actions at the last bend of the 500cc Cinzano Rio Grand Prix

Ant West explains his actions at the last bend of the 500cc Cinzano Rio Grand Prix

Dee Cee Jeans Racing team member Ant West came in for criticism following the action at the last bend of the Brazilian race in Rio de Janeiro. West was in the process of being lapped as front-runners Carlos Checa and Valentino Rossi took the final bend of the track. The subsequent dive for the line saw Checa defeat Rossi, but lose out on aggregate times, which came into play due to the adverse weather conditions.

West, who completed his first season in 500 with the Rio race, explained his actions as follows:

´I stayed on the racing line in the last corner for safety reasons. I´d been feeling a vibration from my rear tyre and I was worried it might fly apart. I knew from the first lap I´d made the wrong tyre choice and I was just riding for a finish. When (Carlos) Checa and (Valentino) Rossi came up on me I was already in the middle of the corner. They weren´t on ´full wets´ (tyres) like me so they were carrying more speed. If I had tried to move over I might have caused an accident and wiped all three of us out. That´s why I stayed where I was and let them ride around the outside of me.

´I´ve heard Checa is blaming me for losing the race, but if I did hold anyone up it wasn´t intentional - I had to make a split-second decision and I did what I thought was safest for all of us. I don´t have a history of blocking other riders or causing accidents. This was a difficult race for me because of the tyres. It was like dirt-tracking, but I was trying not to slide too much because I didn´t want to wear the tyre out too fast.´

500cc, 2001

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