Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Jonas Folger has announced he will sit out the 218 MotoGP Championship due to illness.
After scoring his first podium finish at his home German GP last July, Folger sat out the end of the 2017 season having been diagnosed with a rare strain of Gilbert Syndrome, a common genetic disorder affecting 2%-5% of the population in which the liver is unable to process toxins effectively. On Wednesday, Folger confirmed that he will not be able to race this season either.
“I’m incredibly sad to be saying this, but I will not be racing MotoGP in 2018,” said Folger. “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.”
Team manager Herve Poncharal says he was shocked by the decision, but respects it completely.
“Last night I received a call from Bob Moore, Jonas Folger’s personal manager,” explained Poncharal. “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.”