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West pleased with KTM debut

West pleased with KTM debut

West pleased with KTM debut

Ant West yesterday completed his first test with the new 250cc KTM at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. The Austrian manufacturer is scheduled to make its quarter-litre-class debut in two weeks time at Donington Park, on July 24.

"I rode 310km yesterday and about 80 laps today and my first impressions are that KTM have done a really good job," said West. "The bike is even better than I thought it would be. It's the first time I've been on a GP bike with a parallel twin engine and it felt strong right through the rev range. We tested two bikes with different firing orders, and while they felt different to ride the lap times were about the same.

"The chassis and suspension gave good feeling and grip. I didn't have any problems sliding the rear and keeping the bike under control. It seems predictable to ride."

The 23-year-old from Queensland's Gold Coast, who won the 250cc Dutch Grand Prix in 2003, said it was difficult at this stage to assess how the KTM would initially compare with the factory V-twin-powered Hondas and Aprilias he would race against at Donington Park.

"I raced the other factory bikes (Honda and Aprilia) as a privateer, and the KTM is certainly a step up in performance compared to the other 250s I've been on," said West. "The KTM feels like it's making good power and it accelerates hard out of corners.

"At the same time we have a lot of development work to do. We want to be competitive as soon as possible, but we won't know where we stand against the other factory bikes until we get to Donington and get on the same track at the same time."

West said he enjoyed working at the test with his new team and KTM personnel present, which included experienced Australian technician Warren Willing, and Harald Bartol, who designed the machine.

"They understand what I'm saying and whenever we made some changes it made the bike better," said West. "The track (Vallelunga) was bumpy and had some slow and fast corners so we were able to try a few different things with the set-up."

250cc, 2005, Anthony West

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