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Bittersweet weekend for Anthony West

Bittersweet weekend for Anthony West

Bittersweet weekend for Anthony West

Anthony West headed home for Australia with mixed emotions after a chaotic weekend at the SKYY VODKA Grand Prix of Japan. The 24 year old was only cleared to ride by circuit doctors on Thursday after cracking three vertebrae in a preseason crash at Estoril, but he went on to become one of the protagonists of an exhilarating race, charging to second place and dicing with early leader Sebastian Porto.

`On the grid I have to admit I was feeling pretty nervous,´ said West. `It was over a year since my last race and I just wanted the red light to go out so we could get going and I could get some laps under my belt. I got into a good rhythm straight away and found myself with the second group chasing Porto. I have to say I was a bit surprised about that, especially after my crash in Estoril.´

$$$ West pulled off some memorable manoeuvres to haul himself up to the lead group and stay there on his privateer Aprilia, but his tyres eventually paid the price for his heroic efforts. `Lots of times during the race I had problems with the front and rear - in the fast corners it was really spinning up a lot. Also the track surface in Japan is a lot different to what we are used to testing on in Europe, so it was really unpredictable. I went into the left hander just as I had done on every previous lap and the front end went, so I guess it was just bad luck.´

His brief return to the front of the quarter-litre field has given West the taste for more action, and he is now ready for starring roles in the next few races. `Even though I was disappointed about the crash, I was really happy to have come from the back and fought my way to the front. Now I know that if I can get some good qualifying performances in the next few races and get some good starts then I will be able to conserve my tyres better and have a real chance of staying there. I am already looking forward to it.´

250cc, 2003, Anthony West

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