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Proton Team KR unveil V5 motorcycle at MotoGP launch in London

Proton Team KR unveil V5 motorcycle at MotoGP launch in London

Proton Team KR unveil V5 motorcycle at MotoGP launch in London

In the heart of London, at Home House in Cavendish Square, the British-based Proton Team KR took advantage of a launch of the 2003 MotoGP World Championship to unveil their brand-new V5 racer with which they will compete this season. In the presence of media from all over the world, Team Manager Kenny Roberts revealed the new four-stroke bike to the public for the first time, as the machine continues to undergo its rigorous testing programme behind closed doors.

In recent years the team tried their hand at creating a successful lightweight 500cc two-stroke bike, to take advantage of the superior corner speed around the circuit from the streamlined three-cylinder. However with the arrival of the exhilarating MotoGP category and the 990cc four-stroke machines which proved so dominant last season, the team have switched their focus to having more power with which to compete. As such the team have opted for a five-cylinder 990cc machine, similar to the engine which proved successful for Honda last year. Having learnt from their past efforts however, the new V5 clearly retains some of the characteristics of the KR3 machine, with its compact and aerodynamic nature. The outfit, which is run by three-time 500cc World Champion Kenny Roberts, is based in Banbury in Oxfordshire, in the heart of the British motorsports belt.

At the unveiling alongside his British rider Jeremy McWilliams, Roberts discussed the ongoing work on the project, `We are currently testing the engine, and getting it ready to race. We´ve had it up to 14,000rpm, and we are fixing problems on a day-to-day basis. But it´s not ready to race yet.´ The American would not be drawn however on when the bike will begin to take part in races, `It´s difficult to set a schedule. We hope to have it ready for the second GP, in South Africa, but it may be that we´ll continue to race the two-stroke for a little longer. We won´t put the new bike on the track until it is ready, and safe enough,´ he reasoned.

Proton Team KR will line up at the first round of the MotoGP World Championship a week on Sunday, at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan. Both of the team´s experienced riders, Jeremy McWilliams and Japan´s Nobuatsu Aoki, will be riding the 500cc three-cylinder KR3 motorcycle until their new charge arrives.

MotoGP, 2003

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