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West pushing to get up to speed with Team Sicilia

West pushing to get up to speed with Team Sicilia

For one of the most popular riders in the 250cc class, 2007 is a make-or-break year for Anthony West.

For one of the most popular riders in the 250cc class, 2007 is a make-or-break year for Anthony West. Having been a regular top ten finisher as a privateer last season, the Australian now rides for Team Sicilia on near-factory machinery in the quarter litre class.

With the former MotoGP rider and 250cc racewinner onboard, the team can hope to be challenging the frontrunners, but limited testing means that for the moment West and his new colleagues are still getting the feel of the bike. However, as the rider himself says, a positive attitude and the support of his fanbase could further spur him on this season.

"It's been very hard to get up to speed; there are a lot of good bikes and a lot of good riders on the grid, so missing out on most of the preseason testing is making things very hard. I'm happy with my team and the good bike that Aprilia have given me, but I'm not happy with my results. I was faster last year at Jerez on an older bike, so we have a lot of work to do, but we are pushing forward to go faster!," commented West to this week, following on from 13th and 9th place finishes in Qatar and Spain respectively.

In response to being asked when he would expect to be fully comfortable on the bike and pushing for the top spots, the 25 year-old gave a reasoned answer. "It all depends on how good myself and the team can work together. I'm focusing on getting better with every race and not going crazy pushing things, but I want to get up to the front and my goal is to win a race this season. I will do anything to make that happen."

Although West has begun this season with a significantly better points tally than in 2006, where he failed to finish the opening two races of the year, he is not overly focused on points. "I never look at the points or my position in the championship. I just take things race by race, although I have to be happy that my bike finished the first two Grands Prix, in contrast to last year! Thanks to Team Sicilia for that!"

Through thick or thin, the Australian has one of the most devoted fanbases in MotoGP due to his exciting riding style and straight-talking nature. The fans' support is not lost on West, who is grateful and looking to reward their faith in him. "I have some good people who believe in me, and it helps me to keep going," he commented. "Even if I'm not at the front, I don't want people to say that I never tried, or that I'm giving up. I will fight to the end no matter how bad things get! I think that this is what people want to see, and also why they enjoy watching me ride."

Most riders from outside Europe move to the continent in order to have a base for the more centralised rounds of the championship, and West is no exception. He continues to live in Salzburg, Austria, and will not be making the trip back ‘Down Under' between now and the Grand Prix of Turkey on April 22nd, as much as he would like to. "I have no idea how I'm going to spend the downtime, but I'm here on my own so it'll be hard to not go crazy and start talking to myself! I'll just devote myself to staying fit and think about how I can win, if I do that then I'll be able to afford to bring my dad over here, which would be good because I'm starting to miss the old guy!"

250cc, 2007, Anthony West

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