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New team and new outlook for Anthony West

New team and new outlook for Anthony West

New team and new outlook for Anthony West

Anthony West's move to Matteoni Racing was announced last week, making him one of the final additions to the 2007 250cc grid. Whilst most of the attention has focused on former 125cc stars Alvaro Bautista, Mika Kallio and Thomas Luthi as the most likely to break into the quarter litre elite this season, the Australian could be a dark horse with a near-factory bike at his disposal. caught up with West to see how he is preparing for a make-or-break year.

A new team for 2007, announced quite late on. How did Matteoni present their offer to you, and where there doubts about your competing in 250cc this season?

I have doubts every year about if I will be racing the next year, because I'm always the last rider to get a team, so that plays in my mind a bit! I had to pay for my ride last year out off my own money! Although it is frustrating to know that I'm faster then the guys who get a ride before I do, that's also what keeps me going and keeps me fighting for a chance to prove everyone wrong!

How excited are you to have what nearly amounts to a factory bike?

I'm very happy to have it, but not excited yet until I ride it and see how I go on it! I'll be excited when I start winning! I'm really happy to have some Italian mechanics that I worked with in 2003-2004 on my side this year, so I'm hoping it's a good one! I have to have a good season this year!

The 2007 grid has a lot of riders coming in from 125cc, and also all the stars from last year. Will your experience give you an edge over the Bautistas, Kallios and Luthis?

There are going to be so many good riders this year in the 250cc class that this year will be the hardest category in any bike racing championship in 2007! It will be great for the fans but hard for any rider out there. Despite this, I think that with my experience I can keep up a run of consistently good results every race! That's something which I think separates me from a lot of my rivals.

Looking back on 2006, it was a difficult year but have you taken anything positive from the experience?

It was a very hard year for me and the team. It was Kiefer's 1st year working with an Aprilia and we had a very small budget to run the bike, causing a lot of engine problems. Credit to the team, they tried hard and so did I, and it just makes me stronger! We were still the fastest private team and when all was good with the bike and me we beat factory guys so it was not all bad! One thing I took away from 2006 was a new outlook. I've started looking for the positives from every performance, and forgetting about the negative things that happen in my racing.

How have you been spending the off-season? Back in Oz, seeing my family for the first time in 9 months! I've been training a lot to prepare for 2007- I've v always been pretty heavy for a 250cc rider….never fat, just too big! This year I'm hoping to cut 4-5kg, so hopefully the bike will be even faster!

When will we see you on track testing, and where will you be based now that you have joined Matteoni?

I'm hoping to start my testing schedule on the 7th of February. I'll be back in Europe on January 31st, and the plan is to stay in Salzburg in Austria like I have been doing for the past two years….that is, of course, unless Matteoni want me to relocate to Italy!

250cc, 2007, Anthony West

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