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Smith: Zarco 'a class act'

"I think that Zarco is the complete package and Folger we have to see what he is able to do"
With Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro switching to the new factory KTM MotoGP team, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 will have a new all-rookie line-up of Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger in 2017.

Zarco is the reigning (and first ever) double Moto2 world champion and a former 125cc title runner-up, while Folger has won three races in the intermediate class, plus one in 125cc.

Just before handing over his M1s, Smith was asked how he thought the pair would get on next season. The first factor highlighted by the Englishman was how many parts from this year's factory Yamaha would be making their way to Tech 3.

The French team usually runs the same bike specification as used by the factory team at the end of the previous season.

For Smith and Espargaro that meant they were running a bike based around the former Bridgestone tyres, but Folger and Zarco should get 2016 machines designed specifically for Michelin rubber.

"I don't know what packages they are going to get for next year: Anything they get from this year is going to be based on the Michelin rather than the Bridgestone tyres. That's already going to give them a good helping hand in the right direction," Smith confirmed.

"I think that Zarco is the complete package and Folger we have to see what he is able to do and learn here in MotoGP. If you look at their track records I think Zarco stands out as a class act, whereas Folger is more a maybe yes, maybe no."

The German went on to edge out Zarco in terms of best lap time during the post-season Valencia test, both lapping an impressive one-second from the top.

The pair will be among four MotoGP rookies next season. On paper, Smith thinks that new factory Suzuki signing Alex Rins (pictured with Zarco) should be the rider to beat. Speaking before the Spaniard suffered a back injury, the #38 declared:

"Certainly, the Yamaha is a solid package, although I would say that probably Rins has got the best package under him [of the rookies] - in terms of being a factory rider, having all the data from Aleix and Maverick this year and data from Iannone as a team-mate next year."

Tagged as: Smith , Folger , Zarco

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