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West impresses with top ten finish

West impresses with top ten finish

A top ten finish for Anthony West in only his second race for Kawasaki left boss Michael Bartholemy stunned at Assen, owing to the quality of rider that the 25 year-old Australian held off along the way.

A top ten finish for Anthony West in only his second race for Kawasaki left boss Michael Bartholemy stunned at Assen, owing to the quality of rider that the 25 year-old Australian held off along the way.

Qualifying seventh after a great Friday session, West became embroiled in a race-long battle with some talented rivals. Carlos Checa, Marco Melandri and Alex Hofmann all kept the Kawasaki new boy on his toes throughout the race, but were unable to force West into an error on his Ninja ZX-RR800. Speaking after the race, Kawasaki Competition Manager Bartholemy expressed his delight with the performance.

"Anthony rode a fantastic race. It's not often someone impresses me but I must say that today, he did. He's only had a matter of hours on our bike in the dry but he's a fighter: battling with Checa, Hofmann and Melandri. I'm really happy. On the last lap, I still didn't believe he could finish in that position but he did. It was a fantastic job," he stated.

West himself was also pleased with the result, and more so with the chance to learn from the riders around him on every lap. Hitting the ground running with the 800cc bike, his incorporation into the Kawasaki team appears to have already paid off for both parties.

"I was nervous on the line and, as soon as I released the clutch, I knew my start wasn't a good one. A lot of people went past and I couldn't quite get it together for the first few laps, but then I found a good rhythm. Hofmann, Checa and Melandri and I formed a bit of a group and we fought for the rest of the race. We were changing positions a lot, holding each other up, everyone trying everything: it was a bit wild at times. It was a great experience and I learned a lot. I'm really glad I could stay with those guys for the rest of the race and that I didn't drop out of the group. I'm really happy: one of my goals was to be in the top ten this year but I didn't expect it to be at this race!"

It wasn't all good news for Kawasaki on Saturday, however. Front row qualifier Randy de Puniet was unable to convert his Friday form into a result, crashing out of the race after going in too hot on poleman Chris Vermeulen. The Frenchman has nonetheless been in great form recently and, if he can avoid errors such as that of last weekend, could be a regular podium challenger in the second half of the season.

"I'm disappointed because I got a bad start, losing eight places between the line and the first corner, and I don't know why. I really need to work on it. After that, I passed some riders and got to eighth position, behind Vermeulen. I tried to pass him but the front of my bike hit him and we came off. I'm really sorry for Chris, and disappointed for the team, because it had otherwise been a really good weekend."

Tags:
MotoGP, 2007, A-STYLE TT ASSEN, Anthony West

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