West Holds Off Vinales To Win Dutch TT


Anthony West produced a masterclass in wet weather riding to claim his first Grand Prix victory for eleven years at Assen. The 32 year old held his nerve while others suffered in the wet conditions before resisting a late challenge from Maverick Vinales and Mika Kallio as the track dried out.

Ominous clouds had started to gather in the closing stages of the Moto3 race and with Moto2 just minutes away, the heavens opened spectacularly. Esteve Rabat was among the riders to be caught out, sliding off on slicks halfway around his sighting lap, but a twenty minute delay played perfectly into his hands of Marc VDS and Esteve was able to start from pole position on his repaired Kalex.

When the lights changed, Rabat was quickly swallowed up but his plight was nothing compared to Dominique Aegerter who had gambled on a slick rear tyre and promptly plummeted down the order. Sam Lowes got away quickest from the outside of the front row and rocketed into the lead but a typically aggressive move from Simone Corsi relegated him to second on lap two. Lowes still looked assured behind the Forward Racing Kalex but all hopes of victory were dashed on lap nine when the Briton crashed not once, but twice, the second being a dramatic highside at Duikersloot.

As a result, Corsi had an eleven second cushion over the rest of the field with West having stormed through to second from 23rd on the grid. The feel-good factor at Forward Racing was tempered on lap twelve though when the Italian crashed out at Mandeveen, throwing the race wide open.

West thus inherited the lead from the Paginas Amarillas riders, Maverick Vinales and Luis Salom, and the Pons teammates even touched slightly as they disputed second place. The battle was settled in favour of Vinales on lap twenty when Salom slid off, making an identical error to Corsi at Mandeveen, and it was left to Mika Kallio to join Vinales in pursuit of the lead.

As each lap ticked by, the circuit became drier and drier but Anthony held on despite intense pressure in the latter stages, mindful that Vinales would have to leave the dry racing line to overtake him. Kallio claimed third while Johann Zarco followed up his podium in Catalunya with fourth in the Netherlands. Alex de Angelis finished an excellent fifth ahead of Thomas Luthi and Julian Simon while Esteve Rabat salvaged eighth on his least competitive outing of the season. Lorenzo Baldassarri and Hafizh Syahrin clinched their best results of the year in ninth and tenth while Gino Rea did likewise, scoring his first points of 2014 in eleventh.