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Proton Team KR: New Big Bang Proton promises plenty more

Proton Team KR: New Big Bang Proton promises plenty more

Jurgen van den Goorbergh - 15th Position, 1:28.296

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh promised today that 15th position - on the fourth row of the provisional starting grid - was not the last word on Sunday´s German GP.

The Dutch rider spent the first day of practice comparing two different engine configurations. Now he has decided which to use, and is fully confident that a better lap time and grid position will follow.

Today was the first outing for the all-new Big Bang engine - a different version of which was tested at the last GP at Donington Park in England. The close-firing-order engine is aimed at giving the rider a more gentle power delivery, so that he can open the throttle earlier on the corner exits to make the most of the higher corner speeds achieved by the three-cylinder lightweight Proton KR3.

After comparative tests today, Jurgen has decided to switch to the new engine exclusively tomorrow. However, riding two very different machines cost him the chance to try for an ultimate lap time today. Each felt very different from the other, and it would take several laps to adapt - time that would normally be spent working on lap times.

There is one more day of practice remaining before Sunday´s German GP at the revised Sachsenring circuit - a tight and twisty track where the KR3 should excel.

JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH

´Today wasn´t easy, starting again with two configurations and going from one bike to the other. They are very different to ride. I prefer the new engine. It is much smoother and nicer to ride. The disadvantage is we need to find some power that has gone missing, which should be a matter of looking at the data and making some adjustments - you can´t expect perfect results first time out with a new configuration. The grip was not good this morning either, which is bad for us. We need good grip to use our cornering advantages. It improved in the afternoon, and should be better again tomorrow, as long as it doesn´t rain. Tomorrow we can close the gap on the leaders - perhaps not to zero, but quite a lot anyway´.

TOM O´KANE - Chief Designer

´We tested a Big Bang engine at Donington, but suffered a bearing failure which we believe was a component rather than a design problem. All the same, we revised the timing intervals just in case, and we were very lucky to get the balance-shaft parts in time. Today Jurgen was jumping back and forth from the conventional engine to the Big Bang, and they are so different it would take a few laps to get used to it - which didn´t help his consistency. Tomorrow we will run with the Big Bang only, and we can work more on lap times´.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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