In less then ten days' time, testing will get underway in Malaysia but there is already drama in the Tech3 camp. Jonas Folger will not take part in the 2018 championship. As we know, the German has been diagnosed with Gilbert's Syndrome, an illness that already saw him miss the final four rounds of the 2017 season.
The rider is very disappointed with regard to his physical and mental condition.This was his comment as published in the team's press release: "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.”
A serious blow for Hervé Poncharal. About one month ago, the team boss revealed that Jonas would attend the Malaysia tests, also stating that there was no doubt as to the rider's participation in the championship. Now the situation has been turned upside down: “On Tuesday 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. 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."
All Poncharal can do is accept the German's decision: “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.”