After what seems like weeks of speculation, even though it's only been a few days, the deal has finally been done: Anthony West will ride the works Kawasaki in MotoGP for the rest of the season, according to Motorcyclenews.com. West is to replace Frenchman Olivier Jacque, who has suffered a nightmare season with injury so far this year. Jacque will return to working as Kawasaki's test and development rider, taking the place of Naoki Matsudo, who has been out with a broken pelvis.
West has had a genuine roller coaster of a season so far, breaking with his 250, Team Sicilia, over money and technical problems, whilst winning 2 out of the 3 World Supersport races he entered during his free weekends for the factory Yamaha team. He had originally signed a contract to run the rest of the season with Yamaha in Supersport, but his contract allegedly has an escape clause built in if he is offered a ride in MotoGP.
West previously competed in the premier class in 2001, aboard a highly uncompetitive Honda V-twin 500, finishing 18th, well ahead of his team mate. The equipment he will be riding now is a good deal more competitive, as Randy de Puniet's 5th place at Catalunya demonstrated. The Kawasaki Racing Team have been complaining all season that their riders weren't living up to the potential of the bike, but with West coming into the team, they must be hoping that that will change.
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