Ant West is to make a return to MotoGP in 2012, racing with the Speed Master team, which has entered the class under the new CRT rules. West made the announcement on his Facebook page - a small irony, as the last time he switched to MotoGP (with Kawasaki in 2007) he also announced the move using Social Media ahead of an official press release, at that time on his MySpace page.
Full details of the deal are yet to be ironed out, but it appears that West will be riding an FTR chassis with either a Honda or an Aprilia powerplant. MotoMatters.com understands that the deal is for one year only, but by signing a deal to ride a CRT machine, West hopes to gain important experience for 2013 and beyond.
West is the second high-profile rider to sign with a CRT entry, after Colin Edwards made the biggest splash at Misano announcing his move to the NGM Forward Racing team. Recent pronouncements from Carmelo Ezpeleta, that the CRT rules are the future of the class and that the playing field will be leveled between the factory machines and the CRT bikes in 2013, including a spec ECU and a rev limit, encouraged West to take the plunge, and by entering early, West positions himself better when the rules are equalized in 2013. With many of the names being linked to CRT rides being less experienced names such as Yonny Hernandez or riders racing in the Spanish CEV championship such has Carmelo Morales and Ivan Silva, having more familiar names on CRT bikes is crucial to Dorna if the CRT concept is to succeed.
West spent the last two seasons riding for MZ, first aboard the abandoned steel trellis chassis built and designed by Martin Wimmer, and from earlier this year, aboard a 2010 FTR. West struggled to score points, but the arrival of veteran Australian crew chief Warren Willing helped turn his fortunes around, Willing providing the stability in the garage that is crucial in a class that depends upon set up. West scored his best ever Moto2 result at Valencia, finishing 4th, just a couple of seconds short of the podium.