Austin: QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West started with a bang at the Grand Prix of the Americas here on Friday.
For almost half of the first free practice session, the 32-year-old Australian was on top of the Moto2 classification. And even though West dropped to ninth after a small crash, he felt strong and was convinced of his possibilities to again be within the front runners in the afternoon.
However, a small change to the set-up of his Speed-Up prototype upset the balance of the bike and made it impossible for West to match his previous best time.
West and his team engineers will evaluate more options to improve the behaviour of his bike in the fast corners of the track, with the aim of fighting for one of the top spots on the starting grid for the race today.
23-year-old team-mate Román Ramos, a first-time visitor to the Circuit of the Americas, liked the demanding 5.5 kilometre circuit with its up- and downhill sections immediately, but took a while to find the best line through the sweeping bends. 32nd after the first session, he managed to improve by a whopping 2,3 seconds in the afternoon and now holds 29th position.
“This morning, the bike felt good and I felt good. I was relaxed, so everything was easy. I felt strong in the end, but then I had a small crash because I was trying to ride over the inside of the curb. I went a bit too far over the inside and lost the front. I came straight back, jumped on the bike and repeated the same time that I was doing before, which was good,” West said
“Our only problem was that the bike wouldn’t turn easy enough in the fast corners. In one section, I was losing a lot for that reason. We thought we could improve the bike, but instead, we destroyed the handling. It was a small change, just a harder rear spring that shouldn’t affect the bike that much, but it upset the balance a lot.
“We wasted almost the entire session. Only at the end, we put it back to what it was this morning and I could match my previous best time again. Now we have to find another way of making the bike go around the fast turns easier,” he added.
Meanwhile Ramos who finished 29th in said: “Every time we are taking to the track, things go better. We improved by more than two seconds from the first to the second free practice session, which was very important and shows that we are on the right track.”
“We have been able to improve the settings and tomorrow we’ll try to fine-tune the bike even more so we can hopefully be a little higher up in the classification and closer to the riders that will be fighting for world championship points in the race. That’s our goal. The track is very difficult, but I like it a lot with all its up- und downhill sections. It is a lot of fun riding here, but it’s also very demanding because the track is so long and wide. I am still in the process of learning the best way around this circuit and I’m confident to be quicker tomorrow,” Ramos added.