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Philip Island, Australia: QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West proved his skills in sunny and dry conditions to take second place at his home Grand Prix of Australia, yesterday - only one week after his podium finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix,
The 31-year-old Queenslander started from ninth place on the grid, but quickly moved up within the leading pack of riders to take seventh spot on lap four and fourth place on lap five. Around 5,3000 fans around the magnificent Phillip Island track cheered when he made his move on Marc Marquez - who was crowned as the new world champion after the race – and swept into third place with three laps to go.
Elsewhere, West’s team-mate Elena Rosell showed good progress finishing in 24th position.
On the last lap, he rounded the day off with a successful attack on Scott Redding. West’s second place is his first podium success in dry conditions since the British Grand Prix back in 2003 in the 250 cc category and it is also a milestone result for his QMMF Racing Team. His family was also in attendance among the Philip Island spectators.
West was delighted with his podium finish and said that yesterday’s finish was better than the Malaysian meeting.
He said: “For me, this was a much better result than last week in Malaysia. The podium finish there was just a big confidence booster for me. I have been so down and this is what I needed to pump myself back up. Today (yesterday), we achieved the real result that I wanted in the dry.”
Nicknamed as the ‘Rain King’, the 31-year-old admits her prefers riding in dry conditions. He said: “Everybody keeps telling me that I am the wet man and the rain is coming and that’s good, but the truth is that I prefer to ride in the dry and that I’m very happy with this result. It was fantastic to get this podium in front of my home crowd, hopefully that will pump someone up with some money to sponsor me and help us out.”
Speaking of his family who watched West seal second place, he said: “The biggest thing for me is that I did it in front of my Dad Tony, my brother John and my sister Brooke. They are my biggest supporters. They never gave up on me even when a lot of other people did and they are the reason I kept racing all these years. Without their support, I wouldn’t have kept racing and I would have quit at the beginning of this year. But now I’m back fighting for top positions and I’m hungry for more. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I hope I’ll be able to continue with this team next year!”
He added: “It is crazy how things go in life. I have been fighting for ten years to be in this position and then it just comes twice in a row. To think that I started the season without a ride, that I turned up at Qatar in the last minute to ride for this team and that we arrived at this result today (yesterday) is like a fairytale. I really have to thank QMMF and the team a lot for giving me the chance to continue racing.”
QMMF Racing team manager Rashid Al Sulalit spoke of his delight of West’s result in Australia. He said: “This was clearly our best race so far and it is proof that QMMF has a powerful team.”
“We have been working hard during the season to arrive at this point. It’s a pity that the season is finishing soon, but next year we will be back with Anthony fighting for top positions,” he said.
Elena Rosell also put up a great show in the race. With a strong and steady pace, but also aided by several crashes and mechanical failures of other riders, the 26-year-old female racer from Valencia moved up from 29th on the starting grid to 24th place in the end. On the way to the finish line, she held her next rival Marco Colandrea at bay and gained additional confidence for the season’s final at Valencia.
Speaking of the season-finale in Valencia, she hopes to improve on a circuit she knows well. She said: “I hope I will do better there and I will make another step with the set-up of the bike and with my riding. Since I know the Ricardo Tormo circuit very well, I should be faster there and be able to ride with the next group in front of me.
The Spanish female rider also congratulated team-mate West on his second straight podium in a week. “I want to congratulate Anthony, who made a great race in the dry today, straight after his success in the rain of Malaysia. He is considered the rain king by everybody, but here at Phillip Island, at his home Grand Prix, on a track he knows very well and with all his friends and fans, he proved how fast he can be in the dry as well,” she said.