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West looks forward to KTM challenge

West looks forward to KTM challenge

Ant West says he is relishing the challenge of developing KTMs first ever 250cc road racer on the World Championship stage after securing a deal to race in the Austrian factorys famous orange and black colours in 2005.

The 23-year-old is now at home on the Gold Coast in Australia recovering from wrist injuries suffered last month but expects to have his left arm removed from a plaster cast in two weeks time and will then embark on a fitness program aimed at his first test with KTM, scheduled for January.

´Joining KTM is the ride I´ve been trying to get because it´s been tough the last few seasons trying to race against the factory bikes, said West, who has spent the last two seasons on a privateer Aprilia after a year away from racing in 2002.

´I´m thankful for the chances I´ve had as a privateer, but at the same time it´s good to finally be with a factory team because they have more support and resources to develop a competitive bike.

´I went to the KTM factory in Austria after Valencia to finalise my contract. They have a very professional set-up with their various motocross, enduro, and road racing teams, and it was also interesting to see the production lines in operation.

´The 250 bike is something new for KTM and everyone is very keen and enthusiastic. They had their 125 going quick in the first season and they´re confident of doing the same with the 250.

´There are some experienced people in the KTM team and that´s going to help me. There are going to be some challenges ahead, as you expect with any new bike, but everyone realises this and we will all work hard together to keep improving.

´I´m going to be racing for KTM for two years and I´m happy about that because we can develop the bike over a longer period of time. I will also be getting the ´good´ Dunlop tyres which I haven´t had before and it puts me on the same level as the other factory riders.

´Next year I will be living in Austria near the factory. More people seem to speak English there, compared to Italy where I´ve been the last few years, so that will make things easier.

On his injury, sustained in the race at Sepang in October and aggravated a few days later in a heavy crash during practice at Phillip Island, West commented: ´My left arm is still in the plaster cast which was put on in Melbourne after the crash at Phillip Island. I also had 30 stitches in my right arm after part of my leathers were torn off when I flew through the gravel trap.

´Since Phillip Island I´ve been trying to rest as much as possible to help the bruising go down. The plaster cast should come off in a couple of weeks and I´ll be doing plenty of physio, massages, and strengthening work on my wrist so it´s right for testing.

´This is the first time for many years I´ve had my ride finalised before Christmas. Everything is much more settled and I couldn´t be happier.´

250cc, 2004, Anthony West

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