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Proton Team KR ´over the moon´ with first appearance of the V5

Proton Team KR ´over the moon´ with first appearance of the V5

Proton Team KR ´over the moon´ with first appearance of the V5

Proton unveiled their eagerly awaited new V5 machine at the weekend during practice for the Grand Prix Polini of France. Jeremy McWilliams took the bike for a spin in the wet conditions before really getting down to action the following day for the first serious bouts of racetrack testing with a view towards Mugello in two weeks time. grabbed a few words from team boss Kenny Roberts and McWilliams after a memorable GP, not only for wheeling out the new motorcycle but also with the Irishman scoring an impressive sixth position on possibly the last appearance by a two-stroke in the class.

´The last few days have just been a shakedown test,´ commented Roberts. ´The bike has never seen a racetrack and we are over the moon about the performance. With a shakedown it usually takes two or three days to find a way around a racetrack and we are there already and virtually past that stage. In the wet it was better than a lot of the field. While we are very encouraged at this stage we are trying to keep our feet on the ground because it is easy to get your hopes up. This is the most competitive form of motorcycle racing and the highest level of engineering, we have a lot of testing to do to be competitive and we are not going to be able to come out and win a race straightaway.´

´We´ll be testing intensively now before Italy. It sounds easy but if something silly breaks like the clutch or the gearbox we literally have to redesign and manufacturer before the bike can run again. It's not as easy for the other teams whereby they just call a Japanese company and order the parts we cannot do that. A little thing like a 10 dollar part can set us back by three weeks.´

The four-stroke roaring out of the pitlane was a culmination of hard work and effort for well over a year. ´We started the process of drawing on a napkin, transferring to paper and moving from paper to castings while everybody else was testing and racing,´ said Roberts. ´It´s almost like giving birth to something! We were holding our breath that it would start and run and we did have a few hiccups, we've blown up two or three motors, we had oil-pick up problems, crankshaft trouble, sump problems and general teething gremlins over the last two months.´
´To actually see it on a race track and perform the way we thought and anticipated is quite a big load off my shoulders. I can sleep a lot better tonight.´

McWilliams was under no illusions as to the nature of the different beast he will now be able to steer on the racetrack and took the new bike for a spin last week in England on Turweston airstrip before it's debut GP appearance.

´When you're riding it you can feel a much heavier motorcycle with a lot more power,´ the 39 year old understated. ´It was quite daunting getting on something like that because at this circuit the first turn is pretty quick, it took me a while before I talked myself into really hitting that one! However once you've got the trust of the motorcycle you can start putting fast laps together. It has potential on the dyno and the team have a lot of experience with the chassis anyway so it's just a matter of getting the whole package working. There are things to work on like getting used to a new slipper clutch and I've have to learn the injection system all over again that but I'm young enough to adapt!

I've been told we are riding the new bike in Mugello and to be honest it's the only thing we can do. To go to that circuit with the three cylinder we're just going to look silly; the difference in speed it too much now. The V5 still has a way to go but it feels great. I was only maybe a second and a half off my best time on the three cylinder in the wet, we've just got to make it work in the dry now and hopefully we will get some results in the tests.
In the first part of the GP I was fighting a lost cause, it so different that we should not even be allowed in the same race, it's dangerous being so slow in a straight line. Our settings were for the wet and track was both wet and dry so we were pleased to come away with sixth.´

MotoGP, 2003

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