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Proton find the key to big improvement

Proton find the key to big improvement

Round 13: Pacific GP, Twin Ring Motegi Final Qualifying: Saturday October 6, 2001

Jurgen van den Goorbergh: 10th Position, 1:51.370

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh slashed two seconds of his previous best lap time today to move up to tenth on the grid for tomorrow´s Pacific GP. This puts the three-cylinder lightweight in the thick of the factory four-cylinder machines, at a stop-and-go circuit that favours sheer horsepower above the KR3´s strong suit of nimble handling.

The improvement came from chassis and engine changes, that addressed the problems that were troubling the Dutch rider yesterday. He was suffering from wheelspin and poor throttle response that meant he wasn´t able to exploit the KR3´s assets. Today he was happy after the team gave him a machine that meant he could use all the power and roadholding.

The team also switched back to the aluminium crankcases, after testing new magnesium cases yesterday. These save weight, but there were problems with that motor that forced a decision to switch back to more familiar components, given the strict limitations to testing time at a race meeting.

JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH

Today we got everything working better - a combination of chassis and engine that sorted out all our little problems. We found a new setup that solved the wheelspin I was suffering, and the team also managed to revise the engine settings so that the bad throttle response out of the corners was gone, and the bottom power was much better. It all came together in the last 15 minutes, and I am much more confident. This is still not the best sort of track for our bike, but we´re a lot better off than we were when we arrived.

TOM O´KANE - Development Engineer

We made chassis changes to both bikes overnight. We needed more weight transfer to solve the rear traction, and that sorted the handling. This morning Jurgen was still having problems at part-throttle. In the afternoon we changed back to a motor with aluminium casings and made some other adjustments, and that got a lot better too. I don´t believe the problem had anything to do with the material of the crankcases. It´s something different, though we need to investigate it fully to be sure.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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