Jonas Folger has pulled out of the 2018 MotoGP season due to an ongoing illness, just two months ahead of the opening round in Qatar. The German missed the final four races of 2017 after being diagnosed with Gilbert Syndrome and has decided he is neither physically nor mentally ready to return this season.
Folger enjoyed an excellent rookie season prior to his illness, a genetic disorder in which the liver is unable to process toxins effectively, and is desperately disappointed to be sitting out the upcoming campaign.
“I’m incredibly sad to be saying this, but I will not be racing MotoGP in 2018. 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 Factory 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 presents Monster Yamaha Tech 3 with an unenviable problem, a rider vacancy less than two weeks before the opening pre-season test in Sepang. Team Manager Herve Poncharal is understandably disappointed with Folger’s decision and admits he will have to act fast to secure a replacement.
“Last night (Tuesday) 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. 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.”