Motorland Aragon Moto2 Test Sees Triumph Make Debut, Folger Make Temporary Return

Two days after the Barcelona round of MotoGP had completed, some of the Moto2 riders were back testing again. At the Motorland Aragon circuit, a number of Moto2 teams gathered for a private test. Alongside them, the Moto2 chassis manufacturers were there for the first roll out of their 2019 chassis, housing the Triumph 765 Moto2 engine and Magneti Marelli electronics.

Three of the current Moto2 chassis manufacturers were there with their test riders. KTM had Julian Simon and Ricky Cardus, NTS had Alex De Angelis, and Kalex had official test rider Jesko Raffin, and to some surprise, Jonas Folger, who withdrew from the Monster Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP team at the start of this year.

The test was important for the manufacturers, as it was not just a chance to try their chassis with the Triumph engines, but also to test them with the Magneti Marelli electronics. The spec Magneti Marelli electronics package is significantly more sophisticated than Superstock package used with the Honda CBR600RR engines currently being used.

The addition of electronic settings to Moto2, along with a more powerful Triumph engine, will make the Moto2 class a better preparation for MotoGP. Having to work on electronics as well as chassis setup will challenge riders and team them more about racing with prototypes, while the different power delivery - with more torque and mid range, as well as more top end power - needs a style which is more like MotoGP, riders having to pick the bike up on corner exit.

Marc VDS rider Alex Marquez was also given the opportunity to test the Triumph-powered Moto2 bike. Speaking to the official website, Marquez described his experience with the new machine, and the new engine."It was really nice to try for the first time the Triumph engine with the Kalex bike," he said. "It was so nice, also so much more powerful, especially the torque."

That mid range power delivery changed the way the bike needed to be ridden, Marquez explained. "The torque is so nice and it changes the riding style a lot. So you need to prepare the exit a little bit more, and you need to pick up the bike a bit more. I think the category will change completely. Working on the electronics, it's nice to also have the experience for MotoGP. I think riders will be more prepared for MotoGP with the experience. I think for MotoGP the lap times now will also be more close, it will be faster. It will be nice for the category, and also for the Moto2 manufacturers."

The appearance of Jonas Folger came as something as a surprise, though the German rider has slowly been contemplating a return to racing at some point in the future. Folger has been spending time with Dynavolt Intact Moto2 rider Marcel Schrötter, the pair having trained together in the spring. Kalex founder Alex Baumgärtel told German website that the aim was just to allow Folger to see if he was still enjoying riding motorcycles, and there were no current plans for any further tests in the future.

Folger had previously cut off all contact with MotoGP, and was incommunicado for everyone, including his manager, and Tech3 team manager Hervé Poncharal. But Poncharal revealed that he had exchanged text messages with Folger in recent weeks. Though there is no room for Folger in MotoGP, the Tech3 boss said at Barcelona that Folger should call him first if he wants to make a return. Tech3 has still not completed its Moto2 lineup for 2019. The Forward Racing Team - next year racing an MV Agusta designed by Suter - are also believed to have an interest in Folger.

Alex Marquez riding the Kalex Triumph Moto2 bike at Motorland Aragon
Alex Marquez testing the Kalex Triumph Moto2 prototype

Alex Marquez riding the Kalex Triumph Moto2 bike at Motorland Aragon
Alex Marquez testing the Kalex Triumph Moto2 prototype

Joan Mir riding the 2018 Kalex Moto2 bike at Motorland Aragon
Joan Mir at the private Moto2 test at Motorland Aragon

Alex Marquez riding the 2018 Honda-powered Kalex Moto2 bike at Motorland Aragon
Alex Marquez on the 2018 Kalex Moto2 bike at the private Moto2 test

(Photo credit: the Marc VDS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Moto2 team)

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I'm quite happy to see that Jonas is giving it another go. When Herve signed him and then later Johann, my two fave GP riders at the time were now together, it was my virtual dream team. That said though, I will completely have his back if he decides that this is no longer for him and he hangs up his helmet. I have all the respect for the Stoners and Rosbergs of the racing world, leaving at the peak of their power per se. I know from personal experience how something that was always such a source of joy for years on end can change to be a source of stress and frustration. Keep at too long and depression will likely follow and all the extra problems that go with etc. etc. 

Life is too short as they say and there's no benefit to spending it in misery if you can avoid that. So while the fan in me would love to see him back full time, he certainly owes me absolutely nothing and hope he finds happiness wherever his path takes him.