The MotoGP grid has lost its first bike of the season. Anthony West, who was scheduled to ride a Speed Master CRT bike during the 2012 MotoGP season has withdrawn from competition saying that he couldn't afford to race this year.
West announced this morning on his Facebook page that due to money trouble he will likely be ending his racing career. West wrote today:
I (ANTHONY WEST) will not race in MotoGP this year or any other race because I can not find sponsorship to pay the SPEED MASTER team. Because all teams are asking for money from the riders only the rich can race in MotoGP / Moto2 / Moto3. I can not even afford to ride a year for free, as i have YET to be payed from my former team MZ Germany Moto2 team. I had my car, mx bike and my house for sale trying to keep the ride and even gave the house as a guarantee if I did not find the money but it was not enough. I will most likely not race any more and will return back to Australia to find a normal job. Sorry to my fans."
The Speed Master team has not announced a replacement for West. As of now, the Speed Master team will be running Yonny Hernandez. Cycle News reports that Hernandez is also having a hard time finding funding.
With West out, the MotoGP grid is now down to 20 bikes.