QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West had a good start into the Grand Prix of Catalunya when he climbed up to twelfth position in the first free practice session on Friday morning. Convinced of his chances for an even better result in the afternoon, the 31-year-old Australian ran into unexpected engine problems and dropped back to 23rd in the second session, which put him into 15th place in the combined standings. His suspicion of a lack of speed was confirmed in the topspeed list, where West was down in 17th place with 275.7 kph in the morning and in 22nd place with 276.2 kph in the afternoon, which was about 6 kph slower than the fastest riders on the track.
Young teammate Rafid Topan Sucipto on the other hand had a difficult start with a crash in the morning, an incident from which the Indonesian teenager bounced back to go more than a second faster in the afternoon. Even though he likes the layout of the 4.7-kilometre Montmeló circuit, he still needs to build up confidence for the tyre grip in the heat that soared to 29 degrees and a track temperature of 51 degrees in the afternoon.
Anthony West – 15th in 1.48,263
“We didn't have a bad start this morning, I was twelfth with a gap of just 1.2 seconds to the leader and I was convinced that we had a base to start and to improve from. Unfortunately, things didn't go as we hoped in the afternoon. There was quite a number of riders that struggled with the higher track and air temperatures and I was one of them. But it was not only the conditions that slowed me. I'm convinced that there is a problem with the engine, something we seem to get all the time when there is an engine change. This engine now seems to vibrate everywhere on the track. Even on the straight it doesn't feel as if it runs very well. The bike was slow this afternoon and so far, we don't know why. We are trying to analyse the problem and to come up with a solution for tomorrow!”
Rafid Topan Sucipto – 34th in 1.52,526
“It's another new track for me and I like the layout, fast and flowing. What I don't like is the heat because I lose grip and feeling for the bike as it gets hotter, which hurts my confidence. I had a crash this morning because of that, a lowsider without serious consequences. I managed to go quicker in the afternoon, but not quick enough. For tomorrow, we have a few ideas about how to improve the bike and my riding. I hope to have a better day and to get a decent qualifying position!”