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Proton Team KR

Proton Team KR

Jurgen van den Goorbergh - Ninth Position

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh claimed his second top ten finish of his first season on the lightweight three-cylinder Proton KR3, and his best result of the year, in today´s Catalunyan GP.

The Dutch rider was delayed by a poor getaway from his second-row starting position, but closed convincingly on a large and tight-packed group of four-cylinder machines after finishing the first lap 13th. He not only caught the group but started to move up into the thick of it even though the 4.727km Montmelo circuit outside Barcelona has a very long straight that punishes the Proton, which finds its advantages in corner speed and braking.

The team and rider were pleased with the result, but even more pleased at the time intervals involved. Van den Goorbergh finished less than 14 seconds behind race winner Valentino Rossi´s factory Honda, and ahead of a number of V4s, including former champion Alex Criville. At the finish he was just beaten by Carlos Checa´s factory Yamaha. He had passed the Spaniard earlier in the race, but was not able to resist when he attacked again at the finish.

The race, in warm, sunny conditions, drew a crowd of almost 85,000 for the second of three GPs in Spain.

JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH

´I´m pleased to be so close to the leader at the finish, and right with the leading group. The start was messed up. I don´t know why. We had been having clutch problems, but we tested some changes at Assen, and we thought we had found a good solution. Unfortunately it didn´t work when we needed it. I rode hard to catch the leading group, and then to pass Checa, and Haga, and then fight with Checa again at the end. It cost me a lot in terms of my rear tyre. But the bike was steering very well - couldn´t have been better. At the races coming up, if I can be within 15 seconds of the leader I think we would have a much better position. I feel that it proves we´re not talking nonsense when we say this bike can be competitive.´

CHUCK AKSLAND - Team Manager

´The bike had a bit of a problem off the start line - other than that, we had a reliable weekend. A lot of hard work went into that, and it gave Jurgen a chance to run with the factory four-cylinder machines. We´re closing the gap. To be within 14 seconds of the leader is the best we´ve had for a long while. Today´s result is a springboard into the Big Four - Assen, Donington Park, the Sachsenring and Brno. They are circuits where Jurgen should really be able to capitalise on our bike´s strong points´.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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