Folger relishes Rossi challenge

Denzil Pinto 00:17 25/03/2017
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MotoGP rookie Jonas Folger says he’s still finding it quite surreal that he will line up against his role model Valentino Rossi this season.

After testing himself in Moto3 and Moto2 for the last five years, the newly-recruit Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider has stepped up to the top class of the motorcycling competition, where he finished 12th fastest in the final practice session at the season opener in Qatar on Friday.

Growing up, Folger has fond memories of watching Italian veteran Rossi, who is competing in his 15th consecutive MotoGP season. And the German says it’s a proud moment to share the same grid as the seven-time champion.

“Valentino Rossi was my role model when I was young and still to this day, he remains that,” the 23-year-old German told Sport360 on Friday.

“During the testing, I was quite nervous to meet him but I just kept telling myself that I had to concentrate on my own performances. He’s a great rider and I’m very proud to be racing alongside him.”

For Folger, who finished fourth fastest in the first practice session on Thursday, while he is relishing the opportunity of going up against the likes of reigning champion Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Rossi, he just wants to get as many points as possible over the season.

“My target is to improve in every race and to get as many points as I can,” said Folger, who finished seventh in Moto2 last year. “That is very important for us and considering am a rookie, if we can get some points that would be good.

“I feel quite confident on the bike. I’m stepping up and everything is new to me. I have to experience the first race first and just enjoy the first MotoGP and it’s something I’m really looking forward to.”

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