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Proton complete more ´tests´ at Brno for the V5

Proton complete more ´tests´ at Brno for the V5

Proton complete more ´tests´ at Brno for the V5

Team Proton KR will mark the Czech Republic GP as a step forward in the all-too-public development programme of their radical new V5 four-stroke prototype MotoGP bike. Sadly a double non-finish at the fast and sweeping Brno circuit was a poor reward for riders and engineers, after weeks of flat-out work had yielded a marked overall improvement for the GP infant.

Nobuatsu Aoki retired after 11 laps of the race, round 22 laps of the 5.403km track; and team-mate Jeremy McWilliams lasted just one more lap before he also pulled into the pits. Aoki had fuel delivery problems and McWilliams was suffering a loss of rear grip.

However while the team was licking its wounds, engineers were also measuring data that showed not only what had gone wrong but also what had improved, such as engine durability, power output and engine-braking management. Proton KR is testing more than racing, explained team owner Kenny Roberts, and each fresh race takes the project further along the road towards turning the five-race-old prototype into a fully fledged competitive challenger.

"I was using my second-best engine and I don't really know what happened," said McWilliams. "It was losing some power and I wasn't really racing, just riding around in 22nd position. I was going slower and slower each lap. Lack of rear grip was the biggest problem. I thought it might be some oil getting to the rear tyre, which is always a bit of a worry. In the end I really didn't see much point in carrying on."

Nobuatsu Aoki was also a ‘retiree': "I pulled into the pits after the sighting lap but that was a scheduled stop. The team wanted to check something with a new engine management map they had fitted. When the race started, I was having fuel pump problems from the very first lap. I was wondering whether I should pull out but I decided to carry on for a while. In the end the power was dropping away, so I pitted. That was after the rear wheel locked going into one of the corners and I ran off the track."

MotoGP, 2003

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