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Shakey Byrne: "It's definitely coming"

Shakey Byrne: 'It's definitely coming'

Shakey Byrne: "It's definitely coming"

The Gran Premio Alice d'Italia marked a significant step forward for the Proton KR, powered by KTM, as rider Shane Byrne finished 16th, just two seconds short of catching Kenny Roberts Jr. on the factory Suzuki for the final championship point.

This was the first race for the latest version of the V4 motor – and it didn't skip a beat. It recorded an impressive top speed figure of 328.2 km/h, 11th-fastest of the 21 entries, and faster than the factory Kawasakis and Suzukis. At the same time, the new version of the chassis, tried for the first time at the last round at Le Mans, also solved the handling difficulties that had troubled the former British Superbike champion in earlier races.

"It was a long, hard race and I just wasn't quite fast enough to stay with them in the early laps," said Byrne, pleased to finish after crashing out on the first lap of the previous race. "Then I put my head down, and at the end I managed to pass Rolfo's Ducati for 16th, but I even thought I might be able to catch Kenny's Suzuki.

"We still need more acceleration – I have to ride the bike like a big 250. But the top speed is good, and the front-end feeling from the chassis is transformed. It's definitely coming," said the English rider.

Team owner Kenny Roberts also marked the event as a step forward. "This weekend was very good," he said. "Earlier, we had some reliability problems with the new engine, but we seem to have put them behind us, and that's a lot better. You could say we're starting our season now."

"It's hard for us to work on reliability and on development at the same time. Now we need to concentrate on adding some performance, to take another step towards being competitive," he added.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2005, GRAN PREMIO ALICE D'ITALIA

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