- Special Pages
MOTEGI, Japan: QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West yesterday stormed from 20th place on the starting grid to 12th place at the Grand Prix of Japan and achieved his goal of taking valuable world championship points in the Moto2 category.
The 31-year-old Australian, who had found a good set-up and started with lots of confidence despite his poor grid position, recovered a few places in the opening stage of the race and moved up to 14th place on lap four.
Later on he managed to close the gap to a group with former world champion Julian Simon in front of him and had even a top-10 finish within reach, but missed out on this opportunity after a surprise attack by Frenchman Johan Zarco.
West eventually crossed the line six tenths of a second behind Simon but was still happy with his result.
Team-mate Elena Rosell also brought cheers in the QMMF garage for her determined ride in which she left two other riders behind to take 27th position.
After crashing twice on Saturday, the lady racer from Valencia didn’t have a lot of confidence in the front end of her bike, but managed to run the entire race distance of 23 laps at a strong and consistent pace, which boosted her confidence for the next race at Malaysia.
West was pleased with his performance.
“I had a good start and passed some riders, but then I made a small mistake when I tried to pass Iannone. I caught back up and passed him again, but it was all a bit messy and difficult in the beginning,” West said.
“Once I had passed some riders, there was a bit of a gap to the next group in front of me. It took me many laps to catch up and it was only towards the end when I caught them.
“I still was determined to mount another attack and to move higher up. But Zarco had used me to catch them too and when I went wide to pass Simon, he took advantage and went inside.
“That made a bit of a mess for me and ruined my rhythm. I was a little bit angry because tenth or ninth would have been possible, since I caught up with this group quite easily.
“But anyway, I am happy with the result. We now had two good races and we are heading the right direction. I am feeling a lot more confident and comfortable with the Speed Up bike and I am happy with the work the team has done.
“In Malaysia I hope to get a top-10 finish and then to be strong at my home race in Australia. My main problem is that I have to qualify better, so I don’t have to fight so much at the beginning of the race,” he said.
Rosell, who finished in 27th place, said her confidence was up.
“This was not a bad race. After the trouble we had yesterday, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in the warm-up practice this morning, because we still didn’t have the best set-up for the front-end of the bike,” Rosell said.
“My aim for the race therefore was to finish and not to make mistakes again in order to re-build my confidence. My rhythm in the race was quite consistent. My pace could have been a bit better, but at least we learned that we could maintain lap times in the 1.55’s easily and without any risks.
“We can now move on to Malaysia with optimism even though Sepang is another new circuit for me. Our goal there is to improve the set-up for the front,” she said. THE PENINSULA