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Mar 29, 2013

Moto3 World Championship: MAPFRE Aspar's Jonas Folger Says New Kalex Chassis Is Better

FIM Moto3 World Championship: Jonas Folger (94) on his MAPFRE Aspar Kalex-KTM.
'I FEEL HAPPY BECAUSE I AM IN GOOD SHAPE AND THINGS ARE GOING THE WAY WE WANT'

His stern, angular face might usually be difficult to read but as the clock ticks down to the start of the Moto3 season there is a confident and happy look about MAPFRE Aspar Team rider Jonas Folger. After joining the team halfway through last season the German youngster rediscovered his form and fire, scoring four podiums including a victory. Jonas was the form rider in the second half of the championship, prompting the whole paddock to wonder what might have happened if he had been a MAPFRE Aspar Team rider from the start. The rider, however, is focused very much on the present and after an excellent preseason he is now ready to fight for the Moto3 title.

Preseason is over, what's your feeling after so many days of hard work?

Very positive. This bike has huge potential and thanks to that we've been able to take a step forward in every session. Everything has gone to plan and I feel great, happy with the bike and with my riding and totally integrated into the team. I think all these things are a positive sign that we are ready for the new season.

Do you feel ready to go racing?

Of course. We have a perfect setting for the bike and at each test we just needed make small changes in order to go fast and be amongst the pacesetters. We're keen to get to Qatar now and start the real action.

What would make Jonas Folger happy on the Monday after Qatar?

To be honest I'm not thinking about any result in particular. I feel happy because I am in good shape and things are going the way we want. We'll go to the first race and do our best and if that happens we know we'll be at the front, as we have been all through preseason. I feel calm and ready to do my job.

Who do you see as the title favourites in Moto3?

Everybody knows that Viñales will be very strong, as he has shown in preseason. We'll also have to watch out for Rins and Salom but it's difficult to make predictions and every year somebody springs a surprise. There are some young guys with options of doing well and as usual it will be a tough season where you don't get anything for free.

What is the new Kalex like to ride?

It is similar to the final evolution that we had last season. The chassis is a little bit bigger and that suits me because I am quite a tall rider for this category. The new frame offers a lot of possibilities in terms of set-up options, which makes the job easier. The fairing is a bit bigger too so the new Kalex is more aerodynamic. The KTM engine is very powerful and the combination with the Kalex chassis makes for a really impressive motorcycle. The 2012 bike was a great base and this is an improvement on that.

What are the main improvements?

The new bike is more stable compared to the last one, which was quite nervous. The strongest point of the 2013 Kalex is under braking and keeping it in line. You can hit your references more easily and overall the combination between the chassis and the engine is better.

What are its strong points and weak points?

The Kalex is perfect for my riding style because I am quite aggressive but it stays stable. It is bigger than the majority of bikes on the grid, which might be a handicap for some riders but for me it's a bonuses. We have found a really good base setting in preseason so we don't need to be making any big changes.

What's your objectives for the 2013 season?

The objective is to give our best in every race and pick up as many points as possible. As the races go by we'll see where we are. I am racing for a winning team, the best in the championship for the past few seasons and they have the experience to help me fight for the title. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about that but it is a long term goal and first of all we have to start well and take each weekend as it comes. There is no point putting pressure on ourselves before the season has started.

Last year it looked like you would have been fighting for the title if you'd have been with the team from the start of the season so you're automatically amongst the favourites this time...

I'm not thinking like that to be honest. I don't want to talk about titles and things like that because the only thing I am focused on is doing my job to the best of my ability and that's it. Everybody will end up where they deserve to be. 2012 is in the past and it's easy to speculate now about what might have happened if I had been with the MAPFRE Aspar Team from the start. The important thing is the present and the work we have done so far, which is what we need to remain focused on.

A year on since its inception what do you make of Moto3 as a championship?

Moto3 has developed quickly in the space of a year. Last year we often saw teams struggling to find a set-up for their bikes and some riders were up front one week and nowhere to be seen the next. It was a completely new category and nobody had a base to work from. This year the situation is quite different, everybody has moved on and there is a lot of information to work from. The lap times are already a lot closer and it will be a tough season.