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Team Roberts in high spirits after tough comeback

Team Roberts in high spirits after tough comeback

Team Roberts in high spirits after tough comeback

For Team Roberts and the Proton KR machine powered by KTM, the Grand Prix Alice de France was a weekend of mixed emotions. The race could hardly have been more disappointing, with Shane "Shakey" Byrne the victim of a first-lap crash that left him with painful contusions to his back, though no serious injuries. The rider was at a loss to explain the fall.

"I was pretty pumped for the race to be honest because during qualifying I felt we'd turned a bit of a corner with the bike and was really looking forward to getting stuck in," said Byrne.

"I got a half sensible start off the line and made up a couple of places into and through the 1st chicane, I passed Kenny Jr on the exit but ran a bit wide into the long right and he passed me straight back then I ran into the hairpin a bit hot and James (Ellison) passed me so I thought right, calm down, get yourself together and lets do this, unfortunately that's about all I remember because at the chicane, at least that's where I think it was a had a massive highside, the last thing I remember is shooting up real high real fast then waking up in the medical centre."

"Man I feel like I've been run over by a truck or something, I spent most of the evening in hospital having scans on my inside's and x ray's on my back and neck, fortunately nothing's broken or in shapes that it shouldn't be so jobs a dream for Mugello, I like it there and I think the bike should be a bit better there too."

"As for here all I can say is it's a real shame what happened but at the same time there was positives and they're what I'm focusing on right now," he added. "I think we're going to have a quick run out on the bike before Italy to make sure the niggly problems we had here are fixed so like I said hopefully it'll be real good there."

In spite of this, and other problems during two days of qualifying, there was much to encourage the team. The arrival of the new-generation motor and a new chassis and swing-arm proved immediately promising, signalling a clear step forward in both areas.

On the chassis side, Byrne had been complaining of a lack of front-end feel. "We changed some of the geometry and shifted the weight distribution, and he felt the improvement immediately," said team manager Chuck Aksland.

The brand-new engine suffered some minor teething troubles - not surprisingly, since the first day of practice at Le Mans was its shake-down test ... the first time in a motorcycle chassis.

"Again, Shakey said straight away that he could feel that the improvements with the new engine," said Aksland. "Practice was hit by bad weather, which really cut down on test time, and though we had three of the new engines, they came up with a problem that KTM are investigating. I'm confident it's nothing serious, but it meant we had to switch back to the first-generation motor for qualifying and the race."

Byrne qualified 17th, ahead of two rival factory machines as well as privateer-team WCM.
"The overall signs are good, though, and there is a two-week break before the next race. It will give Shakey a chance to recover, and also for KTM to iron out the teething problems with the motor."

MotoGP, 2005, GRAND PRIX ALICE DE FRANCE, Kurtis Roberts

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