Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 00
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013
Qatar Superbike Championship Round 2 went off with a bang at Losail International Circuit over the weekend of 22nd and 23rd of November 2013.
Ant West, current QMMF Racing Team Moto2 rider, was given a wild card ride on one of the new QMMF Kawasaki ZX10R’s!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013
Ant West made the most of his limited practice time on the newly repaired bike, after German racer Nina Prinz had a bit of an off during QSBK Round 1. Most of the daylight shots you can see above and below were taken during the warm up and practice sessions.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 01
I was lucky enough to be up at the track early to catch some of the pre-race action! Both Aussie racers, Ant West and Alex Cudlin were playing the familiar game of cat and mouse to see what the other had brought to the party.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 02
Ant West seemed to be tucking in quite closely behind Alex Cudlin, but wouldn’t pass him, and whenever Alex pitted Ant was on his tail, both re-entering the track at similar times, with Alex managing to reverse the position on occasions.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 03
Ant West obviously had a point to prove to the QMMF…after a season in Moto2, and after securing his QMMF Moto2 seat for the forthcoming season 2014 – 2015 season, he wanted to make sure he was running up front. If I recall correctly, Ant West secured his 2013 – 2014 Moto2 seat with the QMMF team after collecting a double win during last season’s QIRRCH Round 2 (where he convincingly beat both Alex Cudlin and soon to be MotoGP rider and flying Brit Bradley Smith (on his well sorted Yamaha R1).
Bradley Smith, Losail, Qatar, QMMF, QIRRCH, Round 2, 12/01/2013, MotoGP – 01
The shot above shows the start of last season’s QIRRCH Round 2 on 12 January 2013…it looked fairly similar…Ant West at the head of the grid, Alex Cudlin in second, Nina Prinz in third…with the notable difference being Bradley Smith heading up the second row…
Bradley Smith, Losail, Qatar, QMMF, QIRRCH, Round 2, 12/01/2013, MotoGP
I also managed to get the above shot of Bradley Smith…OK…it’s a pretty bad shot, I was using a all purpose travel lens at the time…I think the Nikon 28-300…not exactly fast glass, but I still get SuperStoked when I flick past it in the galleries! After all, whats not to like…it’s flying Brit Bradley Smith getting in some practice before an awesome season in MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha! :-)
Clearly then, anything less than a double win for Ant West this weekend just wasn’t going to be acceptable!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 04
As you can see in the shots above, as he exits turn 16 on the back wheel…and getting his elbow down mid corner…he was already onit, and this was just mid-afternoon practice. 3 x consecutive QSBK champion and reigning Endurance World Champion Alex Cudlin was going to have his work cut out…it was on…lets go racing! ;-)
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 05
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 06
Both Ant West and Alex Cudlin kept pushing pretty hard throughout the entire warm up and practice sessions. During Free Practice Alex knocked in 2:04.108 and Ant West was 0.656 back with a 2:04.764.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 07
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 08
When you know that these boys are going to be putting in at least a second or two a lap quicker than that when on race pace, say consistent high 2:02′s or low 2:03′s, you couldn’t help but appreciate the games that go on between the riders during the practice sessions…it was great to watch!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 10
Later during the weekend, during Qualifying Practice, Ant West uncorked his ZX10R and went round with a best lap time of 2:03.674, which isn’t slow! This was good enough for…wait for it…second place on the grid!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 11
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 12
You can see Ant West in the shots above having a chat on the grid with the TV crews before QSBK Round 2 Race 1 kicked off.
Alex Cudlin qualified with a fastest lap of 2:03.903, exactly 0.298 seconds behind Ant West which was good enough to secure him third place and a front row grid position.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 14
The surprise of the Qualifying Practice session came with German lady racer Nina Prinz banging in a fastest lap time of 2:03.605 to take the pole. To say it was a surprise is actually doing Nina an unintentional dis-service. She’s absolutely rapid and regularly and convincingly
beats crushes the fast boys! Nina was riding, by her own request, her previous QMMF Suzuki GSXR 1000. She definately seems to get along with it pretty well! There is a strong chance that Nina Prinz may also be bringing her own superbike for QSBK Round 3…hmmm…be afraid boys…make no mistake she’s coming to whoop you!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 15
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 16
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 17
You can see in the shots above, taken moments before Ant West got her pinned during the start of QSBK Round 1 Race 1, the concentration and focus..he knew what he had to do…and he knew it was going to be a good scrap!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 18
Ant West got off the line pretty well…for some reason, and I may be wrong, but the Kawasaki’s never seem to get a really good start…and I mean all of the Kawasaki’s on the grid, not just the QMMF bikes. I’m not sure if it’s the gearing, or the clutch or what…but they rarely have a blinding start.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 19
So…all things considered, getting into the first and second corners in third wasn’t too bad. Mashel Al Naimi of Ooredoo Racing team headed up the pack on his sorted Ten Kate Honda, closely followed by Alex Cudlin in second and Ant West in third on the QMMF Kawasaki ZX10R’s, with Nasser Al Malki in fourth on his BMW S1000RR, Nina Prinz in fifth on her Suzuki GSXR 1000, and Saeed Al Sulaiti a close sixth on his Kawasaki ZX10R. The fast boys and girls were positioned nicely…
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 20
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 21
Ant West and Alex Cudlin immediately pulled the pin and went for it, trying to put in a early gap on the rest of the pack. Both Ant and Alex managed to get past Mashel Al Naimi fairly early on, and were in a race between themselves.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 22
Ant West managed to get past Alex Cudlin and set about building a lead in the early stages…Alex Cudlin fought hard for the majority of the race and sat on Ant West’s tail, in an effort to prevent the QMMF Moto2 wildcard rider from getting away too far.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 23
Ant West proved too strong and too consistent to hang on to. Ant West put in a fastest lap of 2:02.064, as compared to Alex Cudlin’s fastest lap of 2:03.276. Nina Prinz’s fastest lap was a 2:02.980!
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 24
However, consistency proved to be all important, with Ant West putting in about six 2:02′s in a row mid race and sealing the final laps with a 2:03 and 2:04 to take him over the line to victory and top step of the podium for QSBK Round 1 Race 1. Alex Cudlin crossed the line approx 6 seconds later to take second place, with Nina Prinz 0.079 seconds back for a close third place.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 25
QSBK Round 2 Race 2 followed a similar suit, with Ant West taking the victory and the double, Alex Cudlin a close second and Nina Prinz again in third place securing another podium.
Ant West, QSBK, Losail, Qatar, Round 2, 22/11/2013 – 27
Alex Cudlin collected a further 40 Championship points over the weekend, to take him to 85 points in total maintaining his position of the top of the standings. Nasser Al Malki is currently second on the Championship leaderboard with 67 points and Nina Prinz is in third with 61 points.
Round 3 already looks like it could be interesting…get it penned in your diary…14th and 15th February 2013!
Hah! Update: I was just reminded of a funny story..after the QSBK Races had finished, the QMMF had laid on an awesome meal and presentation because the Asian Road Racing Championship was also in town. After we had packed the bikes away and packed the trailers etc…we went upstairs to grab a bite to eat…bearing in mind it is after midnight at this point! You might have heard of “photobombing” where you jump in someone’s photo uninvited…hehehe Well, myself, Chris Bell and Ian Maund ‘mealbombed’ Ant West and Alex Cudlin’s table as they were trying to chill out and have a quiet snack before a long flight home back to Aus! Thankfully, they both took it in good spirit and were quite happy to have the banter with us, which was pretty cool and topped off an awesome weekend! Cheers lads! ;-)