MotoGP: Anthony West explains why he shines in the rain

Published: 26 June 2007

Anthony West was one of the sensations of the British MotoGP at Donington Park, running as high as fifth before sliding off the track and ending what looked like a strong podium chance in his Kawasaki MotoGP race debut. 

The Australian has shone before this season in the wet, winning the Silverstone World Supersport race at a canter in another stand-in ride.

So what does he do that marks him out as such a special wet weather rider?

Anthony West explained: "I was worried on Friday morning because I had no experience of riding the ZX-RR bike in the wet – and very little in the dry. I was a bit nervous but it turned out that I had no reason to be.

"The bike felt so good immediately and I was having a lot of fun out there. It’s so much better than riding a 250.

“I’m comfortable sliding the bigger bikes around. I rode a Honda VTR1000 in Japan for Moriwaki when I first started out and just loved sliding that around.

"The Kawasaki power is so smooth that it felt quite easy to ride straight off. After a 250 that feels like a light switch, the ZX-RR comes on so strong and in such a progressive way. There’s no sliding a 250. Do that and it flicks you. A 250 is on a knife-edge.

"This bike feels so good when it’s sliding and spinning but I’ve no idea why I can do this in the wet. In Australia I never raced in the wet but it could come from dirt track racing.

“Chris Vermeulen and I battled it out all the way on 80cc and 125cc crossers converted to work like speedway bikes.

"I just try to keep my bike upright on the big part of the tyre all the time and then lean off the side of it to get it to turn. The secret is just not to have too much lean angle.

“With the 250 we set it up to run it pretty much the same wet or dry. I used to change my style so instead of keeping the corner speed way up, I used to stop it, turn it and sit the thing up as quick as possible to get the drive. I had no real corner speed at all.

"I’m riding the MotoGP in much the same way. In fact the team are telling me I’m still too fast mid-corner even in the wet so I’m losing out on the drive. I guess that’s the 250 style still in me.

"The Kawasaki is good to start with set-up wise. Each time the team change it, it seems to get better. I’ve not much time in the dry so I can’t really say how different I’m riding it in the wet.

“The thing I found on 250s was even if we didn’t have a good dry set-up, it always seemed to work well for me in the wet.”