QMMF Racing Team rider Anthony West conquered a second row starting position at the Dutch TT and celebrated his best qualifying session of the Moto2 season so far. The 31-year-old Australian pushed hard from the start and held fourth place for a long time. He only dropped back to sixth after a last-minute attack of Frenchman Johann Zarco and Belgian rider Xavier Simeon, but remained within reach of the top contenders, with a gap of only half a second to Spaniard Pol Espargaró in pole position. For the race, West is glowing with confidence: The feeling for his Speed Up prototype is better than ever before this year, and since he was able to do his lap times very consistently, he is sure about his chances to score a top result.
Young team-mate Rafid Topan Sucipto suffered a frightening crash towards the end of the third free practice session in the morning, when he lost control in the notorious second chicane of the Assen track right before the main straight. Luckily, the teenager from Jakarta was only bruised and escaped serious injuries, so he battled on in the afternoon and finally managed to qualify despite the pain. His goal for the race is to make it to the chequered flag and to gain valuable experience on one of the fastest and most challenging tracks in the Grand Prix calendar.
Anthony West - 6th in 1.39,272
I was fourth for a long time and ended up sixth, but I'm happy with where I am on the starting grid. The front row is too much pressure and fourth is on the outside, whereas I'm on the inside, which is the best position. I am very confident for the race, because the lap times came in quite easily and I could repeat them one after the other, whilst other riders were sliding a lot. The most important thing for me is that I found back to my confidence. I was completely lost in the last three, four races, because we had made massive changes including a brand-new chassis. The turnaround came during the last race at Barcelona. Even though it was not a great race for me, I was doing good lap times and I knew we were finally going the right direction with the bike. I knew we just needed to keep it this way without making drastic, big changes again, so the team and I agreed before the first session here at Assen to basically leave the bike as it was and to only make small adjustments. That's what we've done and I felt better and better on the bike. I know what I'm riding now, because it's the same bike from one session to the next and not something upside down like it was before. That gave me the confidence to go straight out in the session and push from the first lap. I'm sure we can get a good result, because in the race, I am always better than in practice!
Rafid Topan Sucipto - 33rd in 1.43,868
I had a big, big crash in practice three. The set-up of the bike was not good yet and neither were the track conditions. When I ran a little wide out of the corner, I opened the throttle too fast and had a massive highsider. I was in a lot of pain afterwards, but I continued in the qualifying session. I managed to improve my riding, my body position and my lines around the track and after further adjustments to the set-up of bike, to the suspension, the handlebars and the position of the footpegs, I was able to go faster and to qualify for the race!