Team Tech3 still has the image of Johann Zarco on the podium at Le Mans fresh in their minds, the home race for both rider and team, and the following weekend at Mugello began in a way that kept the smile on the faces of every member of the team. In fact, both riders are in the top position, all on a day when the two factory Yamahas are out of the top ten.
And if the recent results may lead to believe that out of the two riders on the team, the one ahead in the rankings is Johann Zarco, here comes Jonas Folger riding like a madman on the hilly Tuscan track, finishing in third place in the combined standings of the two Friday sessions.
“I am very pleased with the result today – began a smiling Folger – and it is a great way to start the Mugello round. Obviously, I am happy with my lap time, but I am even more pleased with how at ease I feel on the bike and I can say that I have a lot of confidence on this track, despite the fact that this is my first year in MotoGP. We had a great first day and I am already focused on getting back out on the track.”
However, the German is also faced with the tyre unknown, but it seems like he has clear ideas on what to do: “There is a big difference between the hard and soft tyre on this asphalt, so we used the hardest compound for a lot of laps, thinking that we would try the soft next. Tomorrow we will try it and we’ll see how many laps can be done at a certain pace. I am confident because today Johann tried it, turning a lot of laps and proving to be fast, so it could be a solution for the race.”
Johann Zarco, on the other hand, certainly cannot complain since his absolute sixth place (at less than two tenths from his teammate), undoubtedly keeps him in the group of the best once again here on Italian soil: “It was a positive first day for us that gives us confidence for the rest of the weekend. This morning I had to make some small changes to the setup, but in the afternoon I found better control of the bike, which resulted in being more consistent and having fun. It was hard to improve the time because it is quite hot and the grip is good on this track, but when the temperature goes up, improving becomes complicated, a bit like in Jerez.”
So a day of hard work, which then bore fruit from various points of view.
“We worked strictly on the softest compound tyre which allowed me to turn several laps with good sensations. At the moment I am in the top ten and that is excellent. It would be perfect to maintain this result until the end of FP3 in order to go directly through to Q2. In any case, we will keep working because we have lots of information to analyse. We will also keep the soft tyre option on the table for the race and then seen tomorrow morning whether or not to confirm that and whether it might be the right option for battling for the podium again.”