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Proton KR

Proton KR

Round 11: Portuguese GP, Estoril Sunday, September 9, 2001

Jurgen van den Goorbergh: Seventh Position

Team Proton KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh claimed his best finish of the year - a fighting seventh place - in today´s Portuguese GP, putting the three-cylinder lightweight ahead of several factory V4 machines after a thrilling close battle that lasted for the full 28 laps of the tortuous 4.182km Estoril circuit close to Lisbon.

Jurgen took a flying start from the second row of the grid, finishing the first lap in second place, and fortunate to be ahead of a multiple pile-up in the first corner that eliminated four other riders.

As expected, he lost a few positions on the long 300km/h straight, where the four-cylinder bikes have a top speed advantage. But the Dutchman was able to fight back through the corners, exploiting the Proton KR3´s nimble handling and roadholding, and to play a strong role in a five-bike battle for fifth place.

At the finish, his persistence paid off, as other riders fell away behind, and in the end only two of his almost race-long rivals were able to finish ahead of him.

The race was won by points leader Valentino Rossi, the Honda rider´s seventh win of the season.


I really enjoyed that. At last circumstances allowed me to capitalise on my good qualifying position, and to make the most of what the bike can do. I got a fantastic start, but there was no way I could stay with the leaders - their bikes are so fast. After that I kept pushing. The four-cylinder bikes could pass me on the straights, and I was trying so hard to make up time again into the corners that 50 percent of the time I was running wide, and I was losing the advantage again, because I couldn´t get a good corner exit. But it was a good fight all the same. My front tyre was perfect, but we hadn´t chosen the best rear. It was good at the beginning, but then it went off a bit towards the end. At the end, Jacque had got ahead of me on the factory Yamaha - but he was getting nervous and looking round a lot. I kept pushing and then he made a mistake, so I got another place back.


That was a good result for us, and we had a lot of four-cylinder bikes behind us. His back tyre went down a bit towards the end, otherwise he might have had an even better finish. As it is - we keep inching forward.

500cc, 2001

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