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Proton Team KR

Proton Team KR

Round 16: Rio GP, Jacarepagua Final Qualifying: Friday, November 2, 2001

Jurgen van den Goorbergh: 11th Position, 1:52.109

Proton Team KR rider Jurgen van den Goorbergh will start tomorrow´s Rio GP, last race of the 2001 season, from the third row of the grid, after qualifying 11th. But the position does not tell the whole story. Times are ultra-close, with the top 13 within a second of pole. At one stage of the session Jurgen was fastest, and by the end he was still less than seven tenths off the leader.

Today´s second practice took place in warm, sunny conditions, after rain overnight, and all riders improved on their lap times of yesterday. Jurgen slashed more than a second off his time, in a day free from technical or other problems.

The Dutch rider is recovering from concussion sustained a fortnight ago at the Malaysian GP, but reports a day-by-day improvement, and is confident of a strong race tomorrow.

The Rio GP also puts a full stop to the traditional 500cc class as the premier racing category. From next year, the class will also be open to 990cc four-stroke machines.

JURGEN VAN DEN GOORBERGH

´I don´t think anybody else could beat this time on this motorcycle. I was on the limit, and maybe a little over the limit, riding to the absolute maximum. I´m quite pleased, though I was hoping to get below 1:52. On my quickest lap I had a small gearshifting problem a couple of times. That cost maybe one or one-and-a-half tenths each time. Not much, but enough to make a difference of one row on the grid! In any case, I did the time on my own without any slipstream, and I´m quite happy with the set-up of the bike, which is also running really well. I think there will be a big group up front tomorrow, and people will be able to see just how close 500-class racing can be. I like this track a lot, and my condition is better day by day. I had a little trouble with concentration this afternoon, but much better than yesterday´.

KENNY ROBERTS - Team Owner

´It´s looking pretty good for tomorrow. This track suits us, because we´re getting good grip, and our bike seems to be going round the tight stuff better recently. And mainly because it has a lot of corners. We´re not too much down on top speed either. The problem is that so many riders are doing similar lap times. It´s going to be a tough race´.

Tags:
500cc, 2001

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