Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness

Folger to miss MotoGP season through illness

18 January 2018 – Tech 3 Yamaha rider Jonas Folger will sit out the 2018 MotoGP season, having struggled to recover physically and mentally after being diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome, it has been announced.

Folger graduated to the premier class with Tech 3 for 2017 and scored points early on, before scrapping with Marc Márquez for victory on home soil in Germany, ultimately finishing runner-up.

Folger sat out the British Grand Prix following a heavy practice accident, and came home only 16th in Aragón, after another sizeable practice shunt.

He travelled to Japan to begin the 'flyaway' events but was bedridden during the build-up, and returned home to his native Germany to undergo extensive medical checks.

After the tests, Folger was diagnosed with a strain of Gilbert's Syndrome, which has been an underlying condition for several years, and which affects two to five per cent of the population.

Despite "a complete detoxification and cleansing of the body", Folger has not recovered sufficiently to return to action, and will sit out the upcoming season.

"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 per cent.

"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."

Tech 3 team boss Hervé Poncharal was informed of Folger's decision on Tuesday night and initially "couldn't believe" the situation.

"I received a call from Bob Moore, Jonas Folger's personal manager," said 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 per cent 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."

On who could take Folger's ride, Poncharal added: "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."

Folger's decision comes just a week before MotoGP pre-season testing begins in Malaysia.

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