March 29, 2005
The promise of much more to come from the KTM-powered Proton KR was the feeling from British rider Shakey Byrne after completing the three-day IRTA test at Jerez (March 25-27.)
This test was only Byrne's third outing on the KTM-powered Proton KR machine.
The project is still in its infancy and going through the time consuming prototype development stage of matching KTM's Austrian manufactured V4, 990cc motor with the British built TeamKR chassis.
Byrne completed 152 laps over three days in a final shakedown prior to the opening race of the 2005 season, the Spanish Grand Prix, also at Jerez on April 10.
Over the three days Byrne was able to slice almost four seconds from his lap times as he worked through a program of chassis and suspension set-up and engine evaluation.
Byrne ran only on Michelin race tyres and did not try for a fast, single lap using soft compound tyres unlike all the other factory rivals at the test.
Byrne stayed within a narrow range of the available Michelin tyre choice as he concentrated on improving front-end 'feel'.
Day two of the test was interrupted by steady rain in the morning and the track remained damp until mid-afternoon with the weather clearing to sunny and windy conditions.
Shakey Byrne : 1'44.272s (152 laps)
"I made a lot of progress with the front end settings on the final day and we are now heading in the right direction. On race tyres I did 1'44.2 which was almost four seconds quicker than the times I started with on the first day. On day one I didn't have a lot of confidence in the front end on corner entry. The main changes were to chassis geometry and fork settings.
"There is definitely more to come. On the final day he lap times came much easier. On day one I was busting my balls to do 1'47s but on day three the 1'44.2 was really comfortable.
"With the KTM engine we tried some different mapping and other adjustments. I would like a bit more push off the turns from the motor and hopefully we can achieve that while keeping the smooth power delivery and throttle connection. It's a pity we had to stop early on the final day with a problem.
"I didn't really get time to test some of the new and better tyres available from Michelin. I didn't even bother having a run on soft qualifier, we weren't ready for that.
"The 1'42s needs to be our target at Jerez and I think everyone now knows what the things are that we need to improve on the bike. Everyone from KTM and Team KR are very keen and motivated."
Source: KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG