Jonas Folger, a name many MotoGP fans will know, makes his World Championship comeback in 2021.
Jonas Folger is making his comeback to the world stage in 2021 after some difficult seasons away with illness, riding in the World Superbikes championship in 2021 on BMW machinery, heading into the class as the 2020 IDM champion, winning every single race he raced.
Let’s rewind, rewind back to 2014, Jonas Folger was a Moto2 rookie, coming into the class and instantly impressing and letting everyone know he was blummin fast, taking his first Moto2 podium in just his fourth race, a testament to his talents aboard a motorcycle which cannot be ignored, he raced for the AGR team in 2014 and 2015 in Moto2, taking his first win in the class in the opening round at Qatar in 2015, he was fast and no one could deny this, taking 6 podiums and 2 wins for the AGR team who now reside in the CEV championship.
For 2016 Folger would move over to the IntactGP team, a team set up for Sandro Cortese when he moved from Moto3 as the champion, he was the teammate of Cortese, a German driving force if you will, once again Folger would impress, taking a race win and 5 podiums overall, he was on quite an uprise and getting attention from the right places, Herve Poncharal was very interested.
Folger on the IntactGP Kalex Moto2
Poncharal would sign Folger and also 2 x Moto2 champion Johann Zarco for 2017, a move which forced Folger to cut ties with long term sponsor Red Bull for Monster Energy, the pair replaced the outbound Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith who headed for the brand new KTM project. Fun fact, from our sources we have been told that Monster Energy were not happy with Tech3 employing two rookies for the 2017 and threatened to pull their sponsorship, thankfully they did not as both Folger and Zarco impressed both taking podiums aboard the Yamaha machinery.
Folger had an impressive but short MotoGP career, racing just 13 races in total, taking an incredible podium on home soil at Sachsenring battling with Marc Marquez for the victory, then 3/4 of the way through the season, his racing career would be derailed by a liver disorder called Gilbert’s syndrome, the illness can cause people to feel tired, weak and the body to “shut down”. Folger had suffered from this before but never to this extent, he was forced to pull out of the 2017 season and disappeared completely, no social media posts, no statements no nothing, just, gone.
The Tech3 Yamaha days
Tech3 were forced to replace Folger with various riders such as Broc Parkes, Kohta Nozane and Michael van der Mark. They then entered the 2018 season with no rider as it was confirmed Folger would not return for 2018 and would continue to recover from the syndrome, this meant the team needed to hire a new rider, using Yonny Hernandez as a test mule before Hafizh Syahrin impressed and was signed full time for the 2018 season.
We would not hear a peep from Folger throughout 2018 until it was announced he would be the Yamaha test rider for 2019, making a return in full factory Yamaha colours, he would test at various events including the new Finland circuit which will debut in 2021, he also made some Moto2 appearances as a replacement rider in the Petronas SRT squad subbing for Pawi but failed to score a single point, at the end of the 2019 season, he was replaced as the Yamaha test rider by Jorge Lorenzo and Folger set out on a new adventure for 2020, stepping back into the IDM Superbike championship, winning in his first attempt as we mentioned.
Testing for Yamaha at the Kymi Ring, Finland
Folger also made some World Superbike appearances as a wildcard in an attempt to secure a ride, taking some solid points-scoring positions, however, he was unable to sign for a Yamaha team with the slots being filled very rapidly, plus the unexpected dominance of Andrea Locatelli meant Locatelli was more favoured by Yamaha as a rider.
Thankfully, his trusty Benovo team have come to the rescue, swapping their Yamaha R1 for the brand new BMW M1000R which BMW boast is their ‘best’ motorcycle to date and is expected to be incredibly strong, enticing Yamaha man Michael van der Mark to also make the switch, meaning Folger is in incredibly good hands for the 2021 season as he makes his return to full-time World Championship racing, if he can pick up his old Moto2 and MotoGP form, we are in for a treat in 2021.
Featured images – www.motogp.com/Benovo Racing