MotoGP: Rookie Folger fires warning shots

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MotoGP rookie Jonas Folger has fired an important warning shot on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine during three days of testing at Phillip Island, taking the machine to fourth overall and coming away having surprised more than a few people.

Already fast last time out at Sepang, the German was able to capitalise on his progress with the bike to not only smash out a fast lap time but also to show his consistency – and even perhaps how he could be a podium threat on occasion this year.

“Today was another good day and we can head home feeling positive for the future and happy about what we accomplished at Phillip Island. This morning, I got straight to work and I was able to cut my lap time further, which was a strong start. After that, the team and I tried a lot of settings on the bike but I was never 100% sure about which direction was the best one to take, despite the rhythm being quite good.

“Then, I started a race simulation but after three or four laps, I crashed at turn six. I returned to the track on my second bike that had a different setting, and after completing eleven laps or so, my confidence came back and I became faster and faster, which was very important. Now we know which direction we have to head towards and we will try again in Qatar. However, for the moment, we can be fully satisfied about what we completed here because the rhythm was good, the lap time was strong, we tried many options and we sorted a lot of things out, so we can all be really content.”

And while it wasn’t quite as good an outing for teammate Johann Zarco, finishing 15th overall, the Moto2 world champion also came away happy with what he’s achieved.

“The third and final day at Phillip Island went smoothly for me and now I am looking forward to the next track appearance in Qatar. Once again, the conditions were clear and sunny, which was good for my confidence and it meant that we could ride uninterrupted. I improved on yesterday’s best time in the morning and then I just kept working and completing laps.

“In the end, I am pleased about the distance that we covered today. This circuit is not one of my favourites but because of the number of laps which I rode, I am now able to understand the bike better and we can adjust and improve more settings. This is important for the next test because I know that I will be stronger at other venues.”

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer