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Proton retires from Pacific GP
Jurgen van den Goorbergh: Did Not Finish
Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh retired from today´s Pacific GP with overheating problems - spoiling what was an almost perfect finishing record this season.
The problem struck on the eighth of 25 laps of the 4.801km circuit, when the Dutch rider was capitalising on a good start from the third row of the grid. He had moved through from 12th on the first lap to ninth, in the thick of the factory-bike pack. Then the bike lost power and the temperature gauge started to climb, and he toured into the pits.
It was his first mechanical problem all season, and only his second retirement. The first was at the Czech Republic at Brno, where he started from the front row, but suffered wheel vibration problems that forced him into the pits.
The race - 13th of 16 scheduled GP rounds - was won by Honda-mounted Valentino Rossi, further extending the Italian rider´s points lead, with three rounds remaining.
Next weekend, Proton will take part in the Australian GP at the sweeping Phillip Island circuit, which should suit the sweet-handling lightweight three-cylinder perfectly; and the week after that the Malaysian GP, before the season finishes at Rio another fortnight later.
JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH
´It just wasn´t our day. Yesterday afternoon I managed to find some good speed after trying a 17-inch rear tyre rather than the usual 16.5, but a problem in warm-up meant we missed out on extra time to refine the chassis and suspension settings with that tyre. Even so, it felt good. I got a good start, and I was in the top ten when I saw the temperature gauge going up really quickly. The engine was still running, but there was obviously a problem, so I had to pull in to the pits. Now I´m really looking forward to next weekend in Australia. The circuit has fast, sweeping corners instead of the stop-and-go slow turns here, and that´s the sort of track where the KR3 is really at its best. I´m hoping for a really good finish there to make up for the disappointment here´.
TOM O´KANE - Development Engineer
´There was a problem with the cooling system, which is pretty much a first for us, and we have to find out exactly why it happened us. I believe it was just a one-off thing. It´s disappointing, because Jurgen was going better than he´d expected before we came here. Now we´ll concentrate on doing the best we can at the next race, where we´re expecting both the bike and Jurgen to really show their full potential´.
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