DOHA: There was absolute jubilation in the QMMF camp yesterday after rider Anthony West powered the QMMF Racing Team to their maiden Moto2 win against top European riders at the Dutch motorcycle Grand Prix in Assen.
West finished the race ahead of Maverick Vinales of Spain and Mika Kallio of Finland. It was the 32-year-old’s first win in 11 years after finishing first in the same race back in 2003.
The Australian rider finished with a time of 46’02.089. Vinales, riding a Kalex bike, was 0.318 seconds slower while Kallio was 0.743 seconds adrift of West’s time.
“It’s been a long time since I won here in Assen; a lot of hard years between that win and today. I’ve been close a few times but never made it, and I am really happy to be back in the front. It is a strange feeling to be back after 11 years at the same track,” West said.
“It’s been a hard ride but it was good for my confidence because I have been struggling in the last couple of races and it was a good boost for me and I am really enjoying it.”
West braved the wet conditions for yesterday’s victory. “The conditions were very tricky and when I saw the rain I wasn’t happy, but I am happy now. I don’t know what I did differently because of the rain but when the bike was sliding down I felt confident of being able to manage. You never know what the weather will be like for the next race in Germany but I like that track.”
QMMF President Nasser bin Khalifa Al Attiyah yesterday said: “This is an amazing result for QMMF. It was a wonderful race full of twists and turns. We were constantly holding our breath as it was a thrilling contest between Anthony and Vinales.
It was a carefully thought out strategy by our team of mechanics. The issue was choosing the right
set of tyres. In the end, we decided to go for wet tyres,” Al Attiyah said.
West started in the 23rd position and with a perfect start he overtook sixteen riders, reaching the seventh position in the first lap. “Thankfully, Anthony jumped at the start and got good rhythm. He always does this. In the races, Anthony is a different rider and it is difficult to outwit him. In the qualifying, he needs to reinvent himself. But during races, Anthony is just amazing and we saw that today also,” the QMMF President said.
Al Attiyah said the win in Assen was a highlights package with non-stop thrills. “There was constant overtaking in the race and Anthony fought off his rivals with amazing speed and agility, especially at the corners. Anthony showed he is a great rider. He was constantly trying to get his rhythm and not complicate things. There was a lot of traffic on the circuit that was wet and difficult to manage. There were some slow riders in the way and Anthony did well to keep them at bay. Things were difficult but he managed himself really well.”
“Anthony maintained his rhythm. In the last 2-3 laps, the race was unbelievable. The way Anthony managed the corners helped him win his maiden Moto2 race with QMMF Racing Team. It was a wonderful strategy from him and the team. It was an amazing result that took so long to mature. Only half a second split the two top riders. Thank God for this amazing result,” Al Attiyah said.
Al Attiyah said the QMMF Racing Team managed to win despite the odds being stacked against West.
“It is indeed a great moment for us. A brilliant achievement considering that a non-European team has won a Moto2 race against giants from Europe. They (the European manufacturers) have better preparation on most fronts. So they have more chances to win,” Al Attiyah said.
“The Europeans riders and manufacturers have a clear edge over teams from the Middle East or Asia. They have many closed-circuit testing sessions prior to a season and they spend greater budgets on riders and team management. For us — a team from the Middle East — to win a race is just great.
“We have been fighting all the way since we launched the QMMF Racing Team in Moto2 series. We fought today also. This fighting spirit has helped us put Qatar on the Moto2 map like never before. Qatar indeed is on the world map in bike racing.” Al Attiyah said
“I have been receiving a lot of calls from my friends in the FIM and FIA. It was an amazing moment. Carmelo Ezpeleta (chief of MotoGP’s rights holder Dorna) also rang me up to offer congratulations as did other friends from the Middle East and Europe,” he added. THE PENINSULA