News 18 Jan 2018

Recovering Folger to miss entire 2018 MotoGP season

Ongoing illness prompts German talent to withdraw altogether.

Image: Supplied.

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Jonas Folger will miss the entire 2018 MotoGP World Championship season as he continues to recover from an illness that forced him out of last year’s final rounds.

Folger starred in the German grand prix during his rookie campaign last season with a runner-up result behind Marc Marquez, however his recovery after being diagnosed with ‘Gilbert Syndrome’ will now take priority.

“I’m incredibly sad to be saying this, but I will not be racing MotoGP in 2018,” Folger stated. “I wasn’t able to make the improvements I was hoping for and at this stage I don’t feel able to ride a MotoGP machine at 100 percent. I’d like to thank everyone involved, but especially the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, Yamaha Japan, Monster Energy, HJC, Ixon, Forma Boots and Rudy Project. I hope to be back one day and want to thank you all for your ongoing support.”

The news from Folger’s management this week took Monster Yamaha Tech3 team manager Herve Poncharal by surprise, now back on the rider market in search of talent to join Johann Zarco for the 2018 season on-board the ultra-competitive Yamaha satellite machinery.

“Last night I received a call from Bob Moore, Jonas Folger’s personal manager. I couldn’t believe what Bob was telling me on the phone, that Jonas Folger has decided not to race the 2018 MotoGP season, because he doesn’t feel 100 percent mentally and physically recovered,” Poncharal admitted. “It is still very difficult for me to believe, that he’s not going to race with us in 2018, especially because he has been somebody I had lot of faith in and I was sure we would reach top level together this year.

“I completely respect his decision, although it’s hard to swallow. Yet, I will try to find a solution for a replacement rider, which is a very difficult mission as all of the fast riders are already contracted, but as always in racing we need to be proactive, inventive and hopefully we can make someone very happy. We will keep all of you informed about the evolution of the situation.”

With official testing due to commence at the end of this month, the situation is a difficult one for Tech3. Last year they used Kohta Nozane, Broc Parkes and Michael van der Mark as replacement riders, however current Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli and new Honda development rider Stefan Bradl have both been linked to the seat.