Australian rider Anthony West finally bagged his first provisional pole in the SuperSports 600cc class of the FIM Asia Road Racing Championship. Racing at Round 5 at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi this weekend, West was the only rider on the 20-rider grid to post below 1 minute 56 seconds. The Akeno Speed WJR Racing Team rider clocked 1’55.912s and will be looking to confirm his pole position during the qualifying practice on Saturday morning before the start of Race 1.

West’s performance eclipsed that of Thai ace Decha Kraisart who was the pace setter for the first and second practice sessions. However, Decha was able to leapfrog over Yuki Takahashi to post second fastest with 1’56.367s. Takahashi was third fastest with 1’56.667s while Malaysian Mohd Zaqhwan Zaidi scrapped into the 1’56s zone with 1’56.989s. Ahmad Yudhistira from Indonesia provisionally leads what would be the second group with 1’57.025s in fifth spot.

“My laptimes during the first two practice sessions were terrible. There were a lot of problems with the bike so I didn’t get a lot of laps in. But this circuit is very similar to the GP circuits – it’s fast, flowing and more to what I am used to. I was so angry about this morning that in the third session, I was motivated to just go out and ride,” said West.

“I like this circuit a lot. I think the Yamaha will have a bit of an advantage here because it’s strong in the top end speed and likes fast flowing tracks like these.”

Further down the field, the returning Azlan Shah Kamaruzaman checked in at ninth fastest with 1’57.364s. At this rate, Azlan would have his work cut out for him recouping the loss he suffered when injuries forced him out of Round 4 in Sentul.

As the SuperSports 600cc grid took shape, Indian rider Sarath Kumar suffered a huge disappointment when he crashed out at Turn 1 during the third practice session. Sarath is suspected to have suffered a broken collar bone and may not be able to race in front of his home fans this weekend.