West to ride factory Kawasaki for rest of 2007 MotoGP campaign

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Aussie Anthony West will ride a factory Kawasaki ZX-RR for the remainder of the 2007 MotoGP world championship.

MCN can reveal the 25-year-old, currently running in World Supersport, has been signed by Kawasaki to replace injury-prone French rider Olivier Jacque with immediate effect, starting in this weekend’s British MotoGP at Donington Park.

The Japanese factory will officially announce the deal on Thursday at Donington Park, but Anthony West will partner Randy de Puniet in the remaining 11 races of the season.

West tested the ZX-RR after the recent Catalunya MotoGP in Barcelona, with former world 250 champion Jacque sidelined by injury for the third time since his shock return to full-time racing in 2007.

West, who recently split from the Italian-based Team Sicilia 250 GP squad, impressed Kawasaki not only with his lap times but also with the technical feedback.

And he has now been handed a golden opportunity to stake his claim to a permanent MotoGP slot alongside fellow countrymen Casey Stoner and Chris Vermeulen.

At the time of Anthony West’s surprise test, which was revealed by MCN, Kawasaki bosses had already begun to reluctantly consider replacing Olivier Jacque on a long-term basis.

Jacque missed part of the pre-season IRTA test in Qatar with concussion after a massive crash and then had to sit out his home MotoGP in Le Mans after suffering a right arm injury in a crash during practice for the Shanghai GP in China.

He was then forced out of the Catalunya MotoGP with neck injuries following another crash, and Kawasaki bosses decided to act to try and relieve some of the pressure and burden of bike development off de Puniet.

Olivier Jacque will revert back to his previous role of test and development rider.

After his recent Barcelona test, Anthony West had told MCN that he was keener to get on a MotoGP bike than ever before, with the new 800s suiting his 250 style.

Anthony West thought he had found himself a new career path in the World Supersport series riding a Yamaha R6 in place of injured compatriot Kevin Curtain.

He’d only replaced Curtain for three races but claimed superb victories in two, including one in a rain-lashed debut at Silverstone, and currently sits fifth in the standings.

He raced in 14 premier class races in 2001 on a production Honda NSR V-twin 500cc machine.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt