Jonas Folger was surprised by the sheer power of a MotoGP bike as he completed his first test on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha at Valencia.
The German rider has made the jump to the premier class from Moto2 and was very impressive at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, where he lapped in 1m 30.948s to end the test 10th fastest on Wednesday, one place ahead of new team-mate and Moto2 world champion Johann Zarco.
Folger, whose time on the satellite M1 was 0.973s down on the fastest lap set by new Movistar Yamaha signing Maverick Vinales, said the machine had more power than he had anticipated.
“The bike was amazing with a lot of power, even more than what I expected. It's very nice how smooth it is to ride the bike with that much power – it's very controllable and nice to ride,” Folger said.
“The first day is always easier because you sleep all night on your first impressions and everything becomes more natural. You get more used to it and we are able to set up the bike a little bit more and try different things. Especially we focused on the front and at the same time I tried to improve my riding, because I still have to learn many things. We tried to fix the front and find a way, which we found at the end.
“I had a good feeling from the rear and the feedback was very good, but with the front I never knew how far I could go. We tried a few things and I came closer to the limit of the tyre also, so then I started to understand the front of the bike and also what I need,” he added. “In the end I was confident with the front and I had so much confidence with it that now I start to have difficulties with the rear!”
Folger went into the test with an open mind and said his only initial goal was to avoid crashing.
“I had no expectations – just don't crash. I think it's the best way to start anything new, not to have any expectations, because if you don't reach them, then you are more disappointed. I was not really looking for anyone to follow but I had the chance to follow Jorge [Lorenzo] in the morning, which was very interesting. At this time I had more laps than him and he just went out, so we had a similar lap time.
“I could see a big difference in the way he was riding the bike – he is a very smooth rider and that's what I still have to learn. That is what my crew chief always tries to tell me and remind me of, to be smooth, because normally when you want to go fast you brake later, go harder and touch the throttle earlier, but with this bike it is different.
"It's very hard to get your mind to ride smooth and that's the most difficult way. The way you touch the throttle, close the brakes and release the brakes is totally different compared to Moto2 or Moto3,” he added.
“At first we reduced the power at some corners because I was doing a lot of wheelies, which was also a problem because I didn't have the correct line yet, so I picked up the bike quite late and of course I started to wheelie. In the morning we took off some power, but we put it back in the afternoon – this was just a matter of my riding style.”
Folger expected to struggle more with the physicality required to ride a MotoGP bike, but the 23-year-old coped better than he imagined and has no concerns over his fitness levels for 2017.
“I will try to train in a different way to get more strong, more fit. I think I have a good plan for this winter and I hope I will be really fit with this plan – it's a tough plan for the winter but I don't think this will be a problem for next year,” he said.
“My arms were hurting especially after the first day because you ride with a lot of tension. Today was much better, but to be honest I expected that I would struggle more with the physical side. I'm really happy to be a part of this team and they make it even more easy for me to enjoy everything.”