FreestyleXtreme Magazine Issue 25 - Page 57

Herve Poncharal MotoGP is an exciting and extreme sport but a lot of times people in it are very conservative. When you have a situation like we had with Folger leaving then you have two solutions: take no risk – which is not ‘MotoGP’ – and you end up with something boring that will bring zero excitement and coverage and zero return for the sponsors and investments or you try to do something a bit more ‘rock and roll’. You might lose everything or you might have a good surprise. Since Syahrin jumped on the bike in Thailand for the second test of the year he has been like a dream. I don’t want to sound like ‘I know everything’ or take all the credit for this but I had a good feeling. It is always a big gamble when you change classes and he was not dominating Moto2 so it was an even bigger challenge when you think that Zarco was double world champion in the category. So, I’m extremely happy because not only has he been very fast but hasn’t made many mistakes and gives great technical feedback. In Argentina where the track conditions were challenging Michelin were impressed. In Qatar he was in the points and second behind the first rookie, [Franco] Morbidelli, who is a world champion and in the second race he was the best rookie by far. Besides the performance, the guy is so refreshing, so different to the ‘superstars’ that you have to work with sometimes. He is full of energy and naivety but in a good way. We are really happy. He is also from a part of the world where business in every department is booming. Overall we are happy with the line-up. Was it also a bit of a ‘win-win’ because any gains by Hafizh could be celebrated whereas any struggles from a leading rider like Jonas would have been a different situation… “ I think Johann has that confidence that not many have. He is not surrounded by bodyguards or beautiful girls. He is just focussed on the job and is very different to all the others I’ve been working with because he is polite and almost shy in a way: but not on the track. At the moment he is a very complete MotoGP rider. Yes…but I don’t want to say anything bad about Folger because we are sad with what happened and he must be also. It must be hard to lose everything he has been fighting for in his life until now and to see it slip away with one decision. With Syahrin we need to see how u | 57