Next up in the previews is Yamaha’s baby brother. Historically Tech3 have had good riders on bikes that haven’t quite matched their skills. After a winter of change, there are two new faces on said bikes, and it will be interesting to see how both go, as they are both new to the big boy class.
|Engine||1000cc inline four cylinder|
|Chassis||Aluminium twin tube with aluminium swing arm|
|Brakes||Brembo, 320mm or 340mm front, 2×4-piston callipers. Single disc rear with twin-piston calliper|
It is, to all intents and purposes, a Yamaha M1. It’s what Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi have to play with, but it does not have Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi on board. Instead, we have a talented youngster with some untapped potential, and a two-time world champion.
|Out||Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith (both KTM)|
|In||Johann Zarco (Ajo (Moto2)), Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact (Moto2))|
Tech3 made a conscious decision last year to search out new, younger riders. Luckily for Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, a couple of new jobs opened up. In their place come two very exciting prospects from Moto2.
|5 – Johann Zarco|
|Honours||Moto2 World Champion, 2015 & 2016|
|2016||1st (Moto2), 276pts, Ajo Kalex|
Johann Zarco has won two world championships in Moto2 by being boring and consistent. It’s not an insult, he’s very good at what he does, but you won’t seem him flying around with a leg hanging off, or throwing it into the side of someone. He either leads, or slowly works his way to the lead. It’s taken him a few years to get to this level, but now he’s here, he’s been almost untouchable for two years. I highly doubt he’ll have the same level of success right away in MotoGP, but I am very interested to see how he fares.
|94 – Jonas Folger|
|2016||7th (Moto2), 167pts, Dynavolt Intact Kalex|
His shiny new team mate, on the other hand, hasn’t had his considerable talent recognised on a trophy – yet. He has a more exciting style than his team mate – he will take risks, will battle it out – but he also has afternoons where he’s completely anonymous and you’ll barely notice him out there. If he can turn into a consistent rider, he could go far.
The team battle
Zarco’s winning this, right? Surely. He is the better, more consistent rider. I mean, if Folger can somehow put it together for 18 weekends, on the same bike, he has every chance, but Zarco is almost metronomic, and I’d be surprised if he finishes lower than his team mate come November.