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Proton Team KR: Big Bang Proton sets the early pace at Brno

Proton Team KR: Big Bang Proton sets the early pace at Brno

Jurgen van den Goorbergh - 10th Position, 2:02.135

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh was the fastest rider on the track for the first quarter of this afternoon´s first qualifying session for Sunday´s Czech Republic GP.Using the latest development of the Big Bang engine, with the benefit of four weeks of development work, the Dutchman spent the rest of the session circulating at a similar speed, testing tyre endurance and chassis settings. But when he fitted new tyres to try for a final fast lap, he ran into chatter problems instead.The Big Bang engine was first raced at the last round in Germany, but unfamiliarity with the motor meant that the team ran into performance problems, with poor top speed. Over the break, intensive development has restored the power and speed, while preserving the other advantages of the close firing order - especially better throttle response and rider feel.Brno is a favourite circuit for the Dutch rider, who tested the lightweight three-cylinder KR3 machine here for the first time a year ago, and earlier claimed pole position on the MuZ V4.There is one more day of practice remaining before Sunday´s Czech Republic GP at the sweeping Brno circuit, a fast and technical circuit where the handling advantages of the Proton more than compensate for a small deficit in top speed compared with the heavier V4s.


It felt pretty good to be fastest for the first 15 minutes. We were up to speed after only four or five laps, and we could easily run in the 2:02 bracket, which I think will be the pace of the race. We still have a few problems with the front which we are working on, and I continued with the same rear tyre until ten minutes from the end. Then I fitted a new rear to go for a faster lap time, but instead we ran into tyre chatter problems. We can definitely go faster. I am fully confident of that, we´re not on the limit yet. The Big Bang is working very well now. We found the lost speed that was so frustrating at the Sachsenring, and the engine is a lot nicer for the rider. It has good power and top speed now, and a cleaner pick-up. And it vibrates a lot less, making the bike more comfortable to ride.

CHUCK AKSLAND : Team Manager

Jurgen´s going very well here, which is as we´d hoped. We tested at Mugello last week, and the bike is running well, with no major problems. It´s at the point now where we can use the two days of qualifying to pick tyres and do fine-tuning rather than fixing problems. The team´s been working hard during the break, but I´d like to thank Howard Gregory especially for his hard work over the past week; building cranks and engines back at the workshop.

500cc, 2001

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