Jonas Folger admitted he was pleasantly surprised by his sensational speed at the MotoGP test at Phillip Island, and feels he has also shown real consistency to boot.
As he sat seventh at the end of the second day of testing at Phillip Island, few expected the German to climb even further up the order. But climb he did on the final day, as the rookie placed fourth overall come Friday evening.
Folger spent much of the day in third, and only dropped a place in the closing hours as Dani Pedrosa upped his pace. By then the Moto2 race winner was dusting himself down after a small spill, which left him uninjured.
“Yes, I'm surprised. I was surprised by the lap time I made this morning,” said Folger, 0.492s off Maverick Viñales' fastest time of the test.
“What was good is that we were many times close to that lap, so it's not just one quick lap, we were also quite constant.
“Also on used tires we were able to set up an electronics setting which worked really well on used tires and which will work really well for the race.
On the crash he suffered on Friday afternoon, he continued, “Yes, I was OK. I lost a bit the confidence. I was a bit worried, I didn't want to end the day like this, so we put new tires on the bike number two and a full tank and we went out again.
“We said, 'OK, maybe we cannot make a race simulation, but at least I can try to do as many laps as possible.' So I did eleven laps, and also on the last lap, I was doing a 1'29.3 and every lap I went faster.
“So it was quite positive. It was also important after the crash to get the feeling back."
Having impressed with his speed at the first test of the year at Sepang, Folger was keen to play down his feats, and insisted these early results would not lead to him changing his aims for the year ahead.
“I think I have to stay calm, don't expect too much. It's just testing. In the race everything can change. But anyway, I think we surprised ourselves, and also some people. So it's good, I'm very happy.”
Along with Folger, fellow class rookies Alex Rins (sixth) and Johann Zarco (14th) impressed with their speed and consistency, showing the level the front of the Moto2 field was operating at over the past two years.
“Yes, it's nice,” smiled Folger. “Because almost every rookie is adapting quite fast. So it's nice, it means that Moto2 is quite a high level for sure.
“Sure it will be really tough, because Rins will be there in the race fighting with me for sure. I'm really sure. He's a really strong racer.
“And also Johann is very constant, and if everything comes together, Johann is also fast, no doubt.”