Jonas Folger believes that coping with pressure he places on himself is fundamental to his chances of a successful second season in the Moto2 category.
As he had done in his first full season of grand prix racing in 2009, Folger turned heads in the opening six races of 2014 by notching up two podium finishes and a pole position, all while adapting to the greater weight and power of the Moto2 machine.
Yet inconsistency went on to hinder the second half of his campaign and despite occasionally qualifying well, the 21-year old only managed one top ten finish after his surprise podium at Mugello in June.
Speaking to Crash.net
, Folger admits his early season success subsequently increased his own expectations and he suffered because of it.
“The first part of the season was really nice,” he said. “I didn't expect and no one expected that I would go twice on the podium and make a pole position and staying at the front almost all the time. I really enjoyed this.
“Then maybe in the second part of the season I put too much pressure on myself because I already had these results and I really wanted to continue like this. So I start to make mistakes and I put too much pressure on myself. I was not really free. I must say I was training also this winter. [I did] mental training and I tried also to focus on being more relaxed in difficult situations.”
When pressed to expand on what these new training techniques included the Bavarian gave little away.
“That's kind of a secret! It's just training hard and this makes you stronger mentally. Then there is a special training that everyone has to find for himself. I do some breathing training, some relaxing training and this helps me to get more relaxed in difficult situations.”
Having spent the first days in the Jerez test in February experimenting with different set up changes on his AGR Kalex, Folger and his mechanics eventually settled for a clear direction, one which he had been using in 2014.
“I'm happy about my condition because I feel much stronger than last year. We start with the basic settings that we had last year over the whole season,” he said. “In the beginning of this Jerez test we try different things, completely different settings that we never tried.
Finally we came back more or less to the old bike that we already had last year. But it's good because now we now which direction we will go with the bike and we can focus more on the details now. We really don't focus on the lap time but anyway I think we can be happy about our position.”
Looking ahead to 2015 Folger's objectives are clear. “My personal goal is to be more constant than I was last year. I know that I can do podiums. I know that I can set the fastest lap time so I'm sure that we can do it also this year. I want to be more strong, more constant and to be there every race. It was my first year last year and I want to show that I am stronger than last year.”
to read the full interview...