MotoGP: Anthony West clinches 2008 Kawasaki MotoGP deal?
By Matthew Birt
28 August 2007 16:23
Australian Anthony West has beaten off competition from Shinya Nakano to secure a place in Kawasaki’s
factory for the 2008 MotoGP world championship.
MCN understands his deal will be officially announced on Thursday on the eve of the first MotoGP race in Misano since 1993.
shortlist was narrowed down to two riders last Friday when current factory number one Randy de Puniet quit having signed a two-year deal with Lucio Cecchinello’s LCR Honda squad.
MCN has also learned Carlos Checa and Makoto Tamada made official approaches to Kawasaki about a ride in 2008.
Kawasaki team manager Michael Bartholemy declined to comment on Anthony West’s deal, and remained silent about whether the former 250 MotoGP privateer has landed a ZX-RR seat with John Hopkins after he attended the Cadwell Park British Superbike meeting on Bank Holiday Monday.
Anthony West was left in contention with former Kawasaki rider Shinya Nakano in the running to join American John Hopkins
in 2008 after the American opted to quit Suzuki at the end of 2008.
West has impressed since he took over Olivier Jacque’s ZX-RR full-time at the British MotoGP in June.
He’s finished in all five races he’s contested and outscored Randy de Puniet by five-points despite his comparative lack of experience against the Frenchman.
Kawasaki bosses have been impressed with his performances and his level of technical feedback and believe he is worthy of a full season on the ZX-RR with a full winter testing campaign behind him.
Kawasaki was expected to delay a decision on John Hopkins’ team-mate until next Tuesday, two days after the Misano clash.
The decision to sign Anthony West will be a hammer blow to Nakano’s hopes of securing a seat on next year’s MotoGP grid.
His Konica Minolta Honda squad is currently discussing a merger with the Scot Kopron Honda 250 MotoGP squad to secure the services of Andrea Dovizioso.
Shinya Nakano walked out on Kawasaki nearly 12 months ago to switch to a Honda / Michelin package, but he has struggled to make any impression.