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Swimming West to recover for Suzuka

Swimming West to recover for Suzuka

Swimming West to recover for Suzuka

Anthony West expects to be close to full fitness for this Sunday´s 250cc Grand Prix at Suzuka after undertaking a punishing swimming program to recover from serious back injuries. The 21-year-old cracked three vertebrae when he crashed his Azzurra Aprilia in a pre-season test at Estoril in February, and had a back brace fitted in an Italian hospital before returning to Australia to recover before the opening round of the 2003 season.

`I have been swimming plenty of laps in the pool since the crash because it´s the best way to build up strength again without putting any weight on my back," said the Australian. `I have had to wear the brace when I´m walking and I couldn´t run or it would have jarred my back too much. The only time I´ve been taking the brace off is for swimming, and when I´m sleeping.´

$$$ West evaluated his recovery this weekend by riding a motocross bike for the first time since being injured and said he was encouraged by the result. `I went for a ride through the bush and there weren´t any major problems with my back, so hopefully I´m going to be okay for next weekend.´.

West travels north to Japan on Tuesday to ensure that he has as much time as possible to recover from any discomfort eventuating from the eight-hour flight well in advance of Friday´s first practice and qualifying sessions at Suzuka, where he has not raced since 2000, when he finished sixth. `They have made some changes to the chicane before the start-finish straight since the last time I rode at Suzuka,´ he says. `It is a fast and open track, but it´s also quite technical because there are many different types of corners and combinations of turns that lead into each other.´

250cc, 2003, Anthony West

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