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Proton takes fighting top ten in Phillip Island

Proton takes fighting top ten in Phillip Island

Jurgen van den Goorbergh: Tenth Positions

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh made sure of yet another top ten finish in today´s Australian GP, fending off former World Champion Alex Criville´s Honda over the line, in spite of losing time through problems of his own earlier in the race.

Jurgen had run as high as seventh in the early laps, overcoming troubles in practice after taking a flying start from the fourth row of the grid. The black-and-orange Proton KR3 was holding its place in a fierce group of factory machines. Then a suspect fuel supply problem struck, losing the Dutch rider his place in the group.

The machine was still running strongly, however, although the next group, led by Alex Criville, were closing from behind. Jurgen carefully watched the gap, and managed to save his seventh top-ten finish of the year by just over half a second.

The last-ever 500cc race in Australia was won by Valentino Rossi, giving the 22-year-old Italian the World Championship for 2001, with two of 16 rounds remaining.

Next weekend, Proton will take part in the Malaysian GP at Sepang, with an extra string to the team´s bow. Kurtis Roberts, younger son of team owner Kenny Roberts Senior, will be making his 500-class debut as a wild card rider on a second KR3.


´That was a fantastic race, and though not everything went right for us, I´m still pleased with the position, and the way I was able to fight in the big group up front early on. I think we surprised a few people today with what the bike and the rider could do. We were only 19 seconds behind the leader at the end, in spite of some problems, and without them I would have been able to stay with the lead group for sure. I got a good start and took some risks in the first laps to pass a lot of riders. I was holding my place in the group, then for three laps in a row the engine just died on the straight. That meant I lost the group. After that, I pushed too hard trying to catch up again, and that used up the rear tyre. I knew that Criville and the others were closing on me, but I worked out that I´d be able to still be ahead at the flag. I was right, though only by a small margin!´

TOM O´KANE - Development Engineer

´Never say die´ must have been our motto this weekend. We had a difficult warm-up after we changed the settings again. That didn´t work out, so we changed the settings the way they were yesterday, and took a gamble on a tyre we hadn´t used all weekend. It worked pretty well. We´re checking why the engine hiccupped, but we suspect fuel supply problems´.

500cc, 2001

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