2019 Brazilian Superbike Championship
Anthony West retains championship lead
Round 2 of the Brazilian Superbike championship at Interlagos proved a challenging weekend with weather and technical issues cutting short practice.
Despite an overheating engine Anthony West was able to finish the Superbike race in third place. That was good enough for the 37-year-old to retain his championship lead. His Kawasaki cried enough on the cool-down lap, leaving him to catch a ride on the back of another rider’s bike back to park ferme.
“The second round of the Brazilian SBK Championship is in the books and we have with the championship points lead. The race was declared wet but then it stopped raining. Only one rider gambled on slicks. I struggled with grip and an overheating engine, nursing the bike home in third to retain the points lead. Engine locked up on cool down lap, sorry to my team – you guys have a motor to rebuild! It’s a shame, that one was fast.”
Brazil Superbike Round Two Report
The Kawasaki Racing Team-Brasil (KRT-Brasil) squad had prepared a full testing schedule to be completed when they arrived at the Interlagos circuit just outside Sao Paolo, unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, with the weekend proving a trying one for Ant West and the team alike.
The previous weekend had seen the circuit hosting Lollapalooza Brazil and the ensuing rain delayed the break down of the stages and preparation of the track for the second round of the Brazilian Superbike Championship. The entire Thursday test schedule was scuttled by the organisers as a result.
Friday arrived and the team was all set to try and condense their planned eight practice sessions into three. The team was looking for a new solution for the unique layout of the Interlagos track in search of grip, but an electrical gremlin in the form of a malfunctioning quickshifter ensured another entire session was lost. Eight testing sessions were now reduced to two.
Saturday’s free practice saw Ant West reduce his personal best lap time around the circuit to 1:36.7, leaving him ready to fight for pole position in the ten-minute Superpole session. Just as Ant was up to speed and ready to start his time attack, Alex Barros crashed and the session was red flagged, with the session not restarted and West relegated to fourth on the grid.
Sunday morning greeted riders with a steady rain that drenched the track, while the schedule only allowed for a single ten-minute warm up session, which was all the team had to test a wet setting that they developed without any on track testing over the weekend.
West managed to finish the warm up session in P1, two seconds clear of second place as the weather continued to wreak havoc on the team’s plans, before the rain stopped and the track quickly started drying, leaving teams to decide what tyres to race on.
When it came time for West to head to the grid, the team discussed switching to slicks from wets, however in the final moments before the race, the sky dropped a little more water and the team decided the safe decision was to stay on wets. Only one rider gambled on dry tyres.
Small problems plagued Ant during the race, most noticeably, a severely overheating engine and a lack of rear grip as the rear wet disintegrated on the abrasive Interlagos tarmac.
Ant was able to defend his podium position and championship points lead when he crossed the line in third position. After receiving the checkered flag, the engine came to an abrupt halt when it locked up due to severe overheating.
“Well… That weekend did not go to plan. It seemed like we were fighting issues from before the official weekend even started. Thursday testing was cancelled, we missed an entire session with a quickshifter failure, the rain came Sunday morning and the track was drying for the race. The good news is the team never stopped working towards finding solutions and we just kept trying. During the race, I realised my engine was overheating and I tried to salvage as many points as I could. I was able to hold on to third place and the championship points lead. After I finished the race, the motor made a horrible noise and just stopped. I parked my bike and had to jump on the back of a competitors bike for a ride to parc ferme.”