Australian road racer Anthony West, who was slated to ride a Speed Master CRT bike in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, says he can't afford to pay for the ride and it may be the end of the road for the former 250cc Grand Prix winner.
West made the announcement this morning on his Facebook page.
"I will not race in MotoGP this year or any other race because I can not find sponsorship to pay the Speed Master team," West wrote. "Because all teams are asking for money from the riders, only the rich can race in MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3. I cannot even afford to ride a year for free as I have yet to be paid from my former team, the MZ Germany Moto2 team. I had my car, motocross 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 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."
West won his only Grand Prix in 2003, the Dutch GP in Assen, on an Aprilia for the Abruzzo Racing team. He was also John Hopkins' teammate on the factory Kawasaki MotoGP team in 2008.
Unless West is replaced on the team, that puts the amount of MotoGP bikes on the grid to 20. The Speed Master team is still slated to field Yonny Hernandez, though he is also reportedly having trouble finding sponsorship.