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Proton takes place in the fast pack

Proton takes place in the fast pack

Jurgen van den Goorbergh: 15th Position, 1:33.093

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh will start tomorrow´s Australian GP from the middle of the grid, after qualifying 15th for a fourth-row position. The qualifying position is not so good, but times were incredibly close, with Jurgen barely one second of pole time, set by Max Biaggi, and separated from the second row of the grid by only six tenths of a second.

The close times came on a second day of practice with more settled weather than the first - although cool and overcast, with a fresh breeze, the soaking rains and high winds of yesterday were only a bad memory. But there was another interruption to the Proton´s progress - engine trouble with Jurgen´s favoured machine meant he had to switch to the spare, losing time as suspension and chassis adjustments were switched to the second machine.

This left Jurgen just over half of the final hour-long session to set a time, and he went to the task with a will. But for that interruption, he might even have found another couple of tenths - enough to move him several places up the grid.


´There are two riders out there who deserve better positions. I am one. Anthony West is the other - but he is also short of top speed. I rode the bike to the maximum, and I´m just over a second off pole time. The bike felt good at the start of the session, but after five or six laps I had some engine trouble and had to put that bike away. After that the team hurried to change my spare bike, but it´s never good to have to change mid-session. I was running 1:33s consistently, and then put on a new tyre for my best lap. It looks as though we can have a fight with a couple of them tomorrow´.

TOM O´KANE - Development Engineer

´We tried a different direction with suspension today, and it was working well. Then we lost the first half of the session transferring those settings to the other bike. The change is basically trading off some grip in exchange for better stability at high speeds - and while it´s not night to day, it´s an improvement. The engine problem came with the aluminium casings, and Jurgen switched to the new, lighter magnesium casings for qualifying. We´ll probably use the new engine for its first race tomorrow´.

500cc, 2001

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