After a promising two days of Garry McCoy's competitive qualifying efforts there was little reward for the Fuchs Kawasaki Team in the blast furnace heat of Saturday's Rio Grand Prix.

After being baulked and losing two places on the opening lap McCoy settled in 15th before the oppressive heat began to take the edge off rear tyre grip and then gave his motor no chance of survival when debris thrown up by another rider punched a hole in the radiator, forcing McCoy to retire after just 14 laps.

"Just after halfway I started hearing noises and what smelt like oil burning and the motor felt like it was losing power, but I didn't know until after the race that the radiator had been holed; it felt like the motor might lock-up," explained Garry, who qualified a best ever 13th for team green. "In any case the hot weather gave my rear tyres a hard time which is what we expected after qualifying. It's disappointing after seeing the ZX-RR being more competitive in qualifying here. I lost a couple places at Turn Three after the start when I had to lift to avoid hitting Barros."

"Something punched a hole in the radiator of Garry's bike and I'm sorry for him because he likes this track and we saw in the cooler conditions on Thursday how competitive he was on the ZX-RR, which showed some potential at this circuit," added team manager Harald Eckl.

With McCoy out, it was left to a sweat soaked Andrew Pitt to bring the sole remaining ZX-RR home in 18th place after battling fading front end grip over the second half of the race.

"After about six laps the front end grip started to go away and from mid-race I just couldn't push any harder; over the final laps I was holding the bike up with my knee in every corner and sliding the front more than the rear," said Pitt. "Otherwise the bike felt good and the rear grip stayed consistent. It was a hard and hot weekend for my first race in Rio and I've learnt a lot for next time. Now it's time to cool down."

"Andrew did a solid job in his first race here, but it seems we may have selected a too soft front tyre for his bike," deduced Eckl.

The German team manger also admitted on Saturday that his team are currently developing a new chassis, in Europe, for possible use on the 2004 machine. The 'straight four' engine layout also looks set to be used next year despite rumours of it being shelved.

 

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