FOL­GER SO CLOSE TO HOME MOTOGP WIN

Ger­man hot-shot storms to podium af­ter tak­ing the fight to Mar­quez

Motorcycle News (UK) - - News -

Jonas Fol­ger stunned the 77,000-strong home crowd at Sun­day’s Ger­man Grand Prix – tak­ing his first Motogp podium and at the same time be­com­ing the first Ger­man in 30 years to stand on a premier class podium.

Fol­ger’s sec­ond place fin­ish was also a ma­jor re­sult for Herve Poncheral’s Mon­ster Tech 3 Yamaha squad which has now seen both its rookie sign­ings – Fol­ger and French­man Jo­hann Zarco – score home-round podi­ums.

Speak­ing af­ter an im­pres­sive tus­sle with Sach­es­nring race-win­ner Marc Mar­quez, the nor­mally re­served 23-year-old Fol­ger said: “The race was big­ger than any vic­tory that I’ve achieved be­fore. The emo­tions are like noth­ing I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore, the adren­a­line makes you for­get ev­ery­thing, and watch­ing the crowd at the side of the track go mad is ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion!

“Ev­ery rider was cel­e­brat­ing with me – even Vale came to me and gave me his hand! It’s a mo­ment that I’ll never for­get, and it means more than any­thing I’ve ever had be­fore. More than any win in Moto2 or Moto3.”

The Tech 3 rider put on a stun­ning dis­play in Sun­day’s race as he first pow­ered his way through from a strong sec­ond row qual­i­fy­ing po­si­tion to hunt down Mar­quez’s Rep­sol Honda and then lead the race – an ex­pe­ri­ence that he ad­mit­ted to MCN was some­thing he barely had time to con­tem­plate thanks to the cut and thrust of the bat­tle with the reign­ing world cham­pion.

“It was a strange feel­ing, be­cause I ex­pected Marc to over­take me again in ev­ery cor­ner. But af­ter a few laps, I re­alised that my pace wasn’t so bad and that I might be able to lead. I didn’t want to do the whole race in front though, and when I made one mis­take and he got through, I just tried to get in be­hind him and save my tyres.”

And while Fol­ger might not have had the pace in the clos­ing laps to make a bid for the win, he demon­strated just how much he’s learned in only nine races in the class by keep­ing his cool in the sec­ond half of the race to take sec­ond from Dani Pe­drosa.

“When I ran wide at turn one the sec­ond time and lost maybe a sec­ond to Marc, I switched the bike to the stronger map and tried to close the gap, but I burned out the tyre. I knew he was gone. I tried to come back, but I al­most crashed a few times and told my­self to stop, stay calm, and fin­ish.”

And while tak­ing the sec­ond place fin­ish shows that team boss and tal­ent spot­ter ex­traor­di­naire Poncheral was right in ig­nor­ing pad­dock crit­ics when he signed the mid­dle-of-the-pack Moto2 rider for the top class, Fol­ger says that there’s still more to come as he builds on Sun­day’s re­sult.

“I showed that I can get on the podium, which is a su­per feel­ing and a big boost for my con­fi­dence. In the past, Jo­hann had a lot of good races but I some­times didn’t be­cause I made some small mis­takes, but I fi­nally feel like I showed my po­ten­tial. I think that we have to en­joy this mo­ment and take the pos­i­tive points from here to Brno and into the rest of the sea­son.”

‘Ev­ery rider was cel­e­brat­ing with me – even Vale gave me his hand’ JONAS FOL­GER

SI­MON PAT­TER­SON MOTOGP RE­PORTER IN GER­MANY si­mon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com

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