AFTER FIRST LAP COLLISION, WEST BATTLES THROUGH TO SEVENTH
Round 7 Czech Republic
Autodromo Brno, Czech Republic
The EAB antwest Racing World Supersport Team arrived on Wednesday in the Czech Republic encouraged by Ant’s history of strong results at the flowing Brno circuit.
Still nursing his surgically repaired arm from the crash in Assen, and coming off a recent victory at the Suzuka round in ARRC, Ant was ready to take advantage of a circuit that suits his riding style.
Free Practice 1 started with dry conditions and a lot of questions regarding bike setup since World Super Sport had not visited the Czech circuit for many years and the specifications of the class had changed. After the first laps on track, Ant and the crew were struggling to find grip. The unique downhill nature of the Brno Circuit requires a similarly unique setup to deal with the fast, flowing downhill corners. Without much improvement in grip, Ant was able to finish the session in ninth place, first Kawasaki, but 1.8 seconds adrift of P1.
Free Practice 2 started under partly cloudy skies and a new setup in the bike to try and find the illusive grip required to make a fast lap time. The first thirty minutes of the session were especially difficult when the new FP2 setting did not deliver any added grip. Ant was visibly frustrated with the lack of progress in finding a setup after numerous exits from pitlane. The crew took a gamble in the waning moments of the session, threw in a new rear tire and sent Ant out to try and find his way in to the coveted top ten that automatically advance in to Super Pole 2. With less than four minutes to go in the session when he exited pitlane for the final time, Ant was only going to get one flying lap to try and set a new time and earn a top ten position. With only the out lap to learn how to ride the new setup, the pressure was on. He passed the start line just moments before the checkered flag flew and started his time attack. Ant put his head down and fired in a 2:04.585, good enough to be fifth overall in FP2 and first Kawasaki. More importantly, he made it into SP2.
Overnight, Ant and the crew worked on refining the radically changed setup they used in FP2 for the short FP3 session that precedes Super Pole 2. The FP3 session was an improvement over FP2 but Ant and the crew were still looking for more after finishing in eighth place. As the crew prepared for Super Pole, more setup changes were made. After an intense ten minutes of the fifteen minute Super Pole session, Ant was languishing near the bottom of the twelve competitors. With a new tire installed he exited pitlane for one last attempt at a fast lap. The crews’ fast work in pitlane was going to allow Ant to get two flying laps to try and get further up the field. After the first flying lap, Ant set his personal best of the weekend with a time of 2:04.381. His second lap was even faster through the first three sectors before he encountered a slower rider and he lost time. The previous lap was good enough to finish the session in eighth place, middle of the third row, and first Kawasaki.
During the Saturday night debrief, it was determined that another change was going to have to happen to give Ant the best possible package for fighting during the race. The crew looked at all the data and all the notes from Ant and formulated a new setup to try in morning warmup. Morning warmup started with a 32 degree track temperature and Ant was on the circuit the moment the track went green. After the fifteen minute session, Ant was in eighth position again and, more importantly, had found the setup he was going to use for the race.
As the time for the race was approaching, the skies were blue and the track temperature was increasing. The final preparations were made and it was time to race. When the lights went out, Ant got a decent start and was looking to attack on the downhill corners, determined not to lose touch with the much faster Yamahas. As Ant lined up to overtake some riders in front of him going in to turn five, the field compressed together and pushed some riders out, causing a collision between Ant and another rider. Ant was able to save the bike from crashing, but the effort pushed him wide and allowed the field to pass, he was now in the fifteenth position. He was able to pass a rider on the way back to the stripe and he was in fourteenth at the end of the first lap. On lap two, he made up four more positions and crossed the line in tenth. By lap four, he was eighth. On lap six, he almost crashed after losing the front in turn three. Between laps eight and thirteen he was battling with Kyle Smith for seventh position. After gapping Smith, he set off after Gradinger and was catching him but he just ran out of time. Ant’s last lap was a 2:06.2, compared with race winner Cluzel’s 2:06.0 last lap time, and he crossed the finish line in seventh place overall and first Kawasaki.
Ant is now eighth in the World Championship standings, first Kawasaki in the standings, and he has delivered 41 of Kawasaki’s 57 point total in the manufacturers’ championship.
Anthony West 13, P7
Looking at my lap times, we had the pace to finish farther up the field, but after colliding with another rider on lap one, I just put my head down and tried to catch as many people as I could. I had a big moment on lap six in turn three. I thought we missed the mark on setup, but then two turns later I saw Morais crash after losing the front in turn five. I just tried to settle down and let the tires recover after abusing them when I was coming through the field. After the tires cooled down, I was able to attack again. I felt like I was on the limit catching and passing riders because our bike is still lacking acceleration off the corners. I can’t even draft pass anyone, I have to dive bomb people on the brakes. We need to find more engine power.
EAB antwest Racing is a critically underfunded yet competitive team competing in the World Supersport championship comprised of Australian, American and Dutch members. EAB antwest Racing is supported by EAB, Accent Timber Flooring, Putoline, National Tiles, Race-Pro, Riva Moto, FuSport, Arai, Furygan, Danske Frargtmeand. Unique season long and one event sponsorship opportunities are available.
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