Malaysia GP: Strong third place after tough Sepang race
Jonas Folger was happy with his fifth podium finish this season in that race on Sunday, where his team mate in 2017 Johann Zarco secured the Moto2 World title.
The weather on race day at the enormous Sepang International Circuit near Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur showed up once again in its well-known style. Teams and riders were greeting by bright skies and subtropical heat and the warm up session took place under dry conditions. But shortly before the Moto2 pack left their garages for the starting grid, a heavy downpour hit the 5.5 kilometres long track. Therefore, the race was declared as wet race. Despite that, Jonas Folger, who already performed in great style during the washed-out Brno race last August, went very confident into the race. Strong practice performances during the previous days in rainy condition and also second fastest during this morning’s warm up gave an additional boost. The 23-year-old German rider left the line well but first because of grip issues he wasn’t able to stay with Franco Morbidelli and Johann Zarco, who led the pack. As soon the rain stopped and the track started to dry Folger got better.
French rider Johann Zarco secured the Moto2 crown by winning the race. He is the first rider in history who could manage to defend his title since the highly competitive Moto2 class was introduced back in 2010. Congratulations to the 2016 champion!
The series now heads back to Europe where Valencia will host the season’s finale in two weeks.
#94 Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP, KALEX), 3rd (World Championship position 6th, 159 points):
“First, congratulations to Johann for winning the World Championship! He rode a very strong season and is a worthy champion. I’m looking forward to work with him next year. Together with him in a team, I’ll be able to learn a lot from him. But now let’s talk about my race. I went highly confident into race day. The rainy conditions at the beginning were quite to my taste, which is why I started in full attack mode. But I didn’t expect to get that heavy rear grip issues. I was able to set 2´21 lap times under similar conditions during Friday’s sessions but today I just could do lap times in 2´26 during the early stages. It was tough to follow Franco and Johann because they both set a blistering pace at the beginning. Perhaps it was because of the rain which was more heavy and thus more water was on the track. But also during the final stages it wasn’t different to Friday. I didn’t feel as good as during yesterday’s qualifying. But as the track dried out, I was able to catch Franco. I was able to use the dry spots better than he did though Johann was out of reach at the front. He performed super strong today. He really took a lot of risk, but he also had the title win in his mind. Nevertheless, I thought to myself when I had passed Franco although Johann already had a three seconds’ gap, I had such a strong run now at this point, so I’ll continue pushing and maybe he still will make a mistake. But, unfortunately, I made a mistake when I was once too late on the breaks and the front folded several times. I was lucky that I was able to react in time and could avoid a crash. It’s a pity that it wasn’t enough for second place but I’m, however, must blame myself. I’m very happy about this third place and I also gained one position in the world standings. A podium finish shortly before the end of the season is always something special and this one even more, because I will open a new chapter in my career soon.”
Moto2™ Malaysia GP – Race Classification after 19 Laps:
1 Johann ZARCO / FRA / Ajo Motorsport / KALEX / 45´51.036
2 Franco MORBIDELLI / ITA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS / KALEX / +3.256
3 #94 Jonas FOLGER / GER / Dynavolt Intact GP / KALEX / +3.689
Moto2™ World Standings:
1 Johann ZARCO / FRA / Ajo Motorsport / KALEX / 251
2 Thomas LÜTHI / SWI / Garage Plus Interwetten / KALEX / 214
3 Alex RINS / SPA / Paginas Amarillas HP 40 / KALEX / 203
6 #94 Jonas FOLGER / GER / Dynavolt Intact GP / KALEX / 159