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West enjoying test sessions with new Aprilia

West enjoying test sessions with new Aprilia

West enjoying test sessions with new Aprilia

Anthony West begins his third test of the preseason with the Azzurra team in Estoril today, high on confidence after an impressive showing at Jerez last weekend. The Australian, who has not competed at any level since the Rio GP in 2001, clocked the third fastest time at the Spanish circuit behind Randy de Puniet and Manuel Poggiali and revealed his delight at his swift adaptation to the Aprilia.

`After missing a full season I was rusty when I first got back on the bike,´ said West, who rode a Honda NSR250 to sixth place in the 250cc World Championship in 2000 before stepping up to ride a V-twin NSR500. `Now I feel I´m about 90-percent up to speed. There is still a way to go, but the more time I spend on the bike the better I feel. The Aprilia is more aggressive in the top-end. You have to carry good corner-speed and then stand it up as quickly as possible on the exit. The other big change is running steel brakes instead of carbon. I don´t mind that because with the carbon brakes you had to wait for them to heat up before they worked.

West completed a total of 218 laps in the varying weather conditions at Jerez (including the fastest time on the wet second day) and is more than happy to continue clocking up the kilometres at Estoril. `The best part about what I´m doing now is getting the chance to do some serious testing before we go racing. When I had the Honda we only did a half-day test before the first race so there wasn´t much development. The team I´m with now are working hard to give me the best possible chance to do a good job so I couldn´t be happier. We´ve been trying various combinations with WP and Ohlins forks and shocks to see what works best. So far I´ve found the White Power better in the middle of corners, and the Ohlins are good on the entry and exits. There is more work to do in this test.´

After getting his first taste of competitive action in over a year, the Australian admitted it was nice to be back. `It was good to be up in the front group regardless of the different track and weather conditions. It was the first time I´ve been on the track with all the other guys at the same time and we seem to be competitive.´

250cc, 2003, Anthony West

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