Australia will have another full-time MotoGP rider on the grid next year. Anthony West will make his return to MotoGP for the new Speed Master team, lining up on the same grid as current MotoGP champion, Aussie Casey Stoner.

It’s not West’s first experience in MotoGP. He made numerous starts for the now defunct Kawasaki team before moving back to Moto2. The 30-year-old from Maryborough has had a tough time in the top category of motorcycle racing. Having debuted in 2001 on a Honda in the old 500cc days before his stint at Kawasaki six years later, West failed to make any serious inroads despite undoubted talent. His best championship still remains 15th in 2007 despite not competing in the entire season.

His results are unlikely to be amazing this year. West will ride for the new Speed Master team which steps up from the Moto2 category thanks to the new Claiming Rule Teams system. It allows smaller privately run teams to take a shot at the big-time thanks to cheaper bikes and a rule that allows them to purchase any engine they want from a bigger team simply by making a claim for it and stumping up with the cash. This, in turn, is meant to stop big teams spending too much on development as any team can buy their technology.

Still, West is known to be a master in the rain, so here’s hoping for a few wet races in 2012.

Image: MotoGP