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Consistent West scores more 500cc points

Consistent West scores more 500cc points

Australia´s Ant West today scored points for the eighth time from 11 starts in his debut season in the 500cc motorcycle world championship with an impressive performance in the Pacific Grant Prix at Motegi in Japan.

The 20-year-old Dee Cee Racing Honda V-Twin rider scored two championship points by finishing 14th in the 25-lap race. He was the leading rider on a two-cylinder machine, and finished ahead of Briton Leon Haslam on a V4 Shell Advance Honda.

West spent the early part of the race close behind fellow-Australian and three-times 500cc race winner Garry McCoy on a works four-cylinder Red Bull Yamaha. For the remainder of the race West chased Spaniard Jose Luis Cardoso on a V4 Antena 3 D´Antin Yamaha.

Championship leader Valentino Rossi from Italy won the race on the 4.8km Motegi circuit on a Nastro Azzuro Honda, finishing 2.607-secs ahead of Brazil´s Alex Barros on a West Pons-Honda. Rossi´s main championship rival, Italian Max Biaggi, crashed his Marlboro Yamaha when leading. Rossi now leads the series by 67 points and can claim the title if he finishes no lower than seventh in the next round at Phillip Island in Australia on October 14.

West made his grand prix debut at Phillip Island in 1998 on a Honda in the 125cc world championship, but did not finish. He contested the 250cc world championship on Hondas the following two seasons, finishing 10th in the grand prix at Phillip Island in 1999, and seventh in 2000.

ANT WEST QUOTES: ´For the first five or six laps I could stay with (Garry) McCoy and Alex (Criville). They weren´t pulling too much on the straights, but in the corners they´d rush in then stop. I was nearly running over them. When they did pull a gap I could get a better rhythm and do good lap times. Even when they opened up more of a gap I could keep (Jose Luis) Cardoso in my sights, which helped me keep going and keep my speed up because I was alone with no one else to judge off. The bike was running really well from Saturday onwards, which makes me feel pretty good for my ´home´ GP at Phillip Island next weekend.´.

500cc, 2001

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