DOHA ONLY one week after his podium finish at the wet Malaysian Grand Prix, QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West continued his admirable form to take second place at his home Grand Prix of Australia at Phillip Island.
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.
About 53,000 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. On the last lap, he rounded the day off with a successful attack on Scott Redding. West’s second place today 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.
Pol Espargaro of Spain won the race, with new world champion Marc Marquez of Spain came third. Marquez’s finish gave him 299 points, 33 ahead of Espargaro with just one race remaining in Valencia, Spain in two weeks and 25 points awarded for a win.
“This was clearly our best race so far and it is a proof that QMMF has a powerful team”, said QMMF Racing team manager Rashid al Sulaiti.
“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!” Elena Rosell, the second rider of the QMMF team, 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 lady 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 in two weeks, her home race at Valencia.
“What a fun race! Everybody was fighting really hard, but I kept cool and whilst they played with each other, I would sneak up inside of someone. The next lap, I would sneak up the inside of someone else,” commented West after the race.
“Once I reached fourth place, I thought the others would fight back. I could hear them, but I just kept pushing and pushing and finally they dropped off.
Then I caught Marc Marquez. Yesterday I thought he was out of reach, but I take that back! Coming on to the straight, I felt really strong and the bike ran well.
“The Speed Up has been fast since I jumped on it and even though the bike of Marquez was always something special, I got him at the end of the main straight, which was a move that I really surprised myself with! In the Stoner corner, I could hold my speed flat out and I made up a lot of time going into Honda corner, where I got Scott Redding.
He added: “All weekend long I felt strong and I knew I could maintain my pace throughout the race. The Speed Up really suits this fast and flowing track, but we are also pretty happy with the base set-up that we finally found for this bike. Even Iannone is starting to copy our settings now!” “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 is like a fairytale. I really have to thank QMMF and the team a lot for giving me the chance to continue racing,” said West.
West also said he proved he could perform in dry conditions as well. “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, we achieved the real result that I wanted in the dry.
“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.”