After 60 years, German fans can celebrate one of their own on the podium at their home premier class race. Zeller had done it in Hockenheim in 1957, 3rd in 500 with his BMW and Folger did the same (in fact, one position better) today on the Sachsenring.
“Too much time had passed - Jonas smiles - Now my goal is to become the best German rider in MotoGP.”
Today you took the first step. How did you feel?
“I really don’t know what to day. On the second turn I had even risked crashing because Petrucci touched my elbow with his wheel trying to overtake me.”
Did you expect a race like this?
“After the warm up I knew I had a good pace but I would never have thought that I was that fast. At a certain point I was in the lead and it was a beautiful feeling. Then I thought that it would be better to leave Marquez ahead. He has more experience and, in fact, I learned a lot following him.”
Did you think about winning too?
“Yes, up to a couple laps from the end I thought it was possible. Then I made a mistake – I went wide – and I lost a second. I almost crashed trying to make it up, so I settled for second.”
The podium at your home race is something unique…
“I could feel the public, their support, and logically I took a few extra risks. But what made the difference was being able to build my confidence lap by lap.”
Did you think about the podium before the start?
“I wasn’t sure, even if I had been the fastest in warm up, I didn’t know what to expect. However, that result gave me confidence for the race.”
You also finished ahead of the factory Yamaha riders…
“I have never tried that bike, so I don’t know how it is, but I am happy with mine. In the Barcelona tests they had let me try a different frame, but I don’t know which one it was (editor’s note: he had stated that it was the 2017). This is a crazy year. You get to a track and you expect to have one rider ahead and instead you find another.”
Today he was the one and he does not seem at all disappointed about it.