Anthony West surprised both himself and the Kawasaki team at Brno after producing comfortably his best MotoGP performance of the season in fifth place.
The Australian rider has been under considerable pressure recently following a spate of disappointing results, a run that had classified him as the least decorated of all the full-time riders in the championship.
However, having vowed to make a significant improvement over the remainder of the season following the summer break, West duly capitalised on his strong sixth place qualifying position to remain competitive from lights to flag and equal the team's best result of the season.
Running as high as fourth before dropping to fifth behind a charging Shinya Nakano, even West admits he was surprised with his pace in the dry having only previously shown front running speed when the weather turned against them.
“To finish fifth is a really great feeling and it just shows exactly what we are capable of achieving,” he beamed. “I got a good start to the race, but I dropped down to sixth after a few laps and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to fight back, especially after not having much dry time on the bike here.
“However, my confidence grew as we went on and I was able to catch up with John and pass him for fourth at the halfway point. The grip levels dropped off towards the end, so there was nothing I could do about Shinya other than to continue lapping consistently to the flag.
Hailing the performance as the most comfortable he has felt on the Kawasaki Ninja all season, West is nonetheless refusing to get complacent, particularly as Bridgestone forge ahead in the tyre war.
“I felt so much more comfortable on the bike than I have done previously and the Bridgestone tyres definitely had an advantage over some of the other riders.
“I had to ride really hard today, in fact I didn't even look at my pit board until halfway through, so there's still more work to be done as we had to push a lot to get out of the turns fast enough. Thankfully it paid off and fifth place is my best result yet in MotoGP, so I'm really happy.”
The result is likely to boost his future prospects too having come under fire from the team prior to the summer break. Even so, it is perhaps a sign of the team's confidence in West that Kawasaki Competition Manager Michael Bartholemy admits he wasn't expecting to see him stay at the front of the field in normal racing conditions.
"I am happy with this weekend as we've had a good pace right from the start, which shows the potential results we can achieve. Anthony has really impressed me today because I wasn't really expecting him to achieve a result like this in the dry and he rode a fantastic race throughout.”