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Proton Team KR: Engine dilemma keeps Jurgen guessing

Proton Team KR: Engine dilemma keeps Jurgen guessing

Jurgen van den Goorbergh - 13th Position, 1:27.294

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh will start tomorrow´s German GP from a disappointing 13th position on the fourth row of the grid, after circumstances threw up a dilemma for the Dutch rider of the lightweight three-cylinder Proton KR3.Team and rider had expected better at the Sachsenring, a short and twisty track that should suit the nimble KR3. Instead, a minor engine glitch on his preferred bike forced him onto the spare machine with a different engine configuration - and as a result he ended the session undecided as to which machine to choose for tomorrow´s race, the ninth of 16 World Championship rounds.The team had designed and built a new close-firing-order ´Big Bang´ engine, used for the first time yesterday - and the gentler throttle response means the rider can open the throttle harder on the tight turns. Yesterday, Van den Goorbergh had decided to concentrate on that machine.Then, in today´s final session, a minor fuel problem sidelined that machine briefly and forced Jurgen to switch to the conventional bike. To his surprise, it was performing better - and he spent the rest of the session comparing the two machines. Tonight, he will decide which option to choose for the race.


´I was going to ride the Big Bang all day, but on the first lap of practice it stopped, and I had to switch to the conventional engine. It was actually quite a surprise, because it was running really well. We´re not quite there yet with the Big Bang, because it is still brand new. I went back and forth between the two for the rest of the afternoon, and they are different in how you can open the throttle in the corners, so it would take a couple of laps to readjust each time. As a result, I never got a good rhythm, and I didn´t get the best possible lap time either. Also, the Big Bang felt really flat and down on power. Afterwards we discovered that the gearing had been different from what we thought, which affected the performance. Now I have to decide which bike to race. I´m not happy with the way things are going this weekend - we´re testing, not racing, and I still have no final idea on tyres, suspension settings and so on. This should have been a good track for us. Anyway, the race is tomorrow, and things can still change´.

TOM O´KANE - Development Engineer

´Switching back and forth from the Big Bang to the conventional engine this afternoon prevented Jurgen from getting a good rhythm and qualifying closer to the front, as we´d thought possible. The conventional engine accelerates better, and the Big Bang was not as fast. Then we discovered a gearing error that affected the Big Bang, so the comparison was not completely valid. We´re weighing up the various aspects now, and then we´ll decide whether to stick with the engine we know, or to race the Big Bang, which should offer some advantages here´.

500cc, 2001

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