Who is Anthony West? A number of roadracing fans are asking that question after the announcement that West is leaving the Yamaha World Supersport racing team to join the Kawasaki MotoGP team for his first race this weekend at Donnington Park.
You could say that West, an Austrailian aged 25, has had less than a stellar career as a two-stroke GP rider. His ups and downs have incuded a win in the 250 class at the Dutch TT in 2003, as well as several podiums that year, followed by problems developing a bike with KTM in 2005, and generally lackluster results thereafter until a brief move to World Supersport earlier this year.
An injury to Kevin Curtain brought West to the Yamaha Supersport squad to race the R6 for the remainder of 2007 beginning in May of this year. West was immediately fast on the R6, finding the podium in his first race, followed by two wins. West reached a financial settlement with Yamaha that allowed him to leave early to join Kawasaki and its moto GP team as teammate to Randy de Puniet.
Interestingly, West is known as being very quick on a wet track, and he had the seventh best lap time during wet practice at the Donnington circuit earlier today. Despite being 25, and without a World championship to his credit, Kawasaki hired West based on expectations by several observers that he has what it takes to be competitive in the elite MotoGP class. We will watch with interest as West learns his new bike and mixes it up with the best riders in the world.