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Proton KR confirm four-stroke race debut at Mugello

Proton KR confirm four-stroke race debut at Mugello

Proton KR confirm four-stroke race debut at Mugello

After an impressive first outing at Le Mans last weekend, followed by a full day of successful testing at the French circuit, the V5 four-stroke Proton KR racer is scheduled to make a full racing debut at next weekend´s Gran Premio Cinzano d´Italia. The machines now have over 100 miles on the clock, and team manager Chuck Aksland claims they did not run into any of the teething problems that had been tackled step by step during bench testing. The team will have three units available in Italy – with a bike each for Jeremy McWilliams and Nobuatsu Aoki, and one spare.

`We had a few little hiccups, but nothing serious,´ commented Aksland on the French tests. `The engines held together the whole time, and we were able to make a good start at improving our base settings and getting some track miles done to build up data on the new machine.

Both riders asked for more power after the bike´s first outing, but team owner Kenny Roberts insisted patience was the key. `The bike is not running to its potential yet, and unfortunately there´s not much time to do anything about it,´ said the triple World Champion. `As I said at Le Mans, it´ll be three months before we´re ready to do battle. It´s not going to be a rocket ship at Mugello, and it´s not going to handle as well as we´d like. We don´t have enough parts for that yet.

`Le Mans was basically a shakedown tests, and the good news is that the engines held together. We´re letting everybody see what we´re doing in the early stages of development. We could be wrong in our direction, but I think it´s interesting for people to see. We have a very broad power band at the moment, and our first target will be to take some of the mid-range power and move it higher up the rev range.´

While the race team continues race-testing, still establishing base settings for chassis and the all-important slipper clutch system, engine development work is continuing at Banbury and in the USA, where Rob Muzzy is dyno-testing to develop the next stage of tuning parts. `We know we need a lot more development,´ concluded Roberts. `But this bike is just the match we´re using to light the fire.´

Tags:
MotoGP, 2003

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