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Jul 18, 2002

More Teams Preview Sachsenring MotoGP

From a press release issued by Yamaha:<BR><BR>As a result of the broken left tibia and fibula MotoGP rider Pere Riba suffered during the British MotoGP (July 12), Antena 3 Yamaha d'Antin Team owner Luis d'Antin has decided to temporarily replace the Spaniard with former team rider José Luis Cardoso. Cardoso, who is due to ride at this weekend's German MotoGP (July 21) will ‘fill-in' for Riba for the second time this season – previously the opportunity arose at the French MotoGP where Cardoso was attending as a spectator.<BR><BR>Immediately after the high-speed crash, which will leave Riba out of action for a minimum of five weeks, the former Supersport rider was flown to Madrid for surgery. The operation was considered a success – Doctor Villamor fixing two metallic plates over the fracture – and Riba is expected to start his rehabilitation program in an effort to be fit enough to contest the Czech MotoGP, due to be held on August 23-25. <BR><BR><BR><BR>From a press release issued by Proton Team KR:<BR><BR>Proton Riders Eye The Potential Of The Sachsenring<BR><BR>The German Sachsenring circuit is the third of a quartet of tracks that Proton Team KR have been looking forward to this year – and the hope is that both riders can equal or improve on Nobuatsu Aoki's strong top ten finish at the last round at Donington Park.<BR><BR>The German circuit crams 2.302 miles (3.704km) into a small area on the edge of an industrial estate. That means lots of corners and not many straights. And that is Proton territory, where the lightweight three-cylinder 500 two-stroke can use all the agility and nimble handling to the full, without paying the penalty with a relative lack of out-and-out speed.<BR><BR>"The top speed is not high here, and there are a lot of second-gear and third-gear corners," explained Chief Race Engineer Tom O'Kane.<BR><BR>"The KR3 is at its best on faster corners, but the lighter weight and good handling still pay dividends on slower turns," he said.<BR><BR>The Proton's other strength, compared with the heavier V4 500cc two-strokes and the even heavier 990cc four-stroke MotoGP prototypes, comes in braking – but the nature of the Sachsenring gives only one opportunity to exploit this. The only hard braking on the track comes at the end of the pit straight, into the treacherously looping downhill first turn. It is another point where the British-built machine will claim ground.<BR><BR>"This year, we have a much better engine package than ever before," continued O'Kane.<BR><BR>"Last year we raced the Big Bang firing order for the first time, and had some difficulties during that transitional phase. This year the engine is well proven and developed."<BR><BR>As at Assen and Donington Park, where the last two rounds were held, the team is hoping to serve up some surprises at Sunday's German GP.<BR><BR>The track is close to the MZ factory at Zschopau, where Dr. Walter Kaaden pioneered the modern racing two-stroke, laying the foundation for a type of racing machine that came to dominate GP racing. This year's new MotoGP class has handed the advantage back to four-strokes … but it would be poetic justice if the Sachsenring brought the first (and possibly only) two-stroke victory of the season. And especially sweet if it came from the Proton team, which like MZ is a relatively small-scale independent challenge to the major factories.<BR><BR>One thing that adds hope is that this is one of rider Jeremy McWilliams's best tracks, where he has claimed several good results – including his first GP rostrum, finishing second in the 250 class in 1998, and third on the 500cc Aprilia lightweight in 2000.<BR><BR>After this race, the GP circus breaks up for the summer break, resuming racing at the end of August at the Czech Republic GP at Brno … another track with faster corners where the KR3 has the opportunity to excel.<BR><BR>Jeremy McWilliams - A Track To Remember<BR>"This is where I got my first rostrum finish – on a 250 in 1998, and again on a lightweight 500 in 2000, so naturally I have good feelings about it. It's a really physical circuit that seems to suit my style, and puts more emphasis on riding skill and bike handling than sheer horsepower. It's one of the tracks we've been looking forward to, and the Proton KR3 should be good. But this year it's really hard to make predictions with the new four-strokes. You just don't know how they'll go. If we are going to be able to give them a hard time, this should be one place where we can do it."<BR><BR>Nobuatsu Aoki - Back To The Pocket-Bike Track<BR>"I started racing on pocket-bikes in Japan, and this track reminds me of those circuits. I don't much like it, especially on a 500cc GP bike. That's my worry … just my personal dislike of the circuit. But I know the KR3 should be suitable, and I hope that will improve my feeling, and give me the chance to finish well up in the top ten again."
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