MotoGP rider Jonas Folger will be sitting out this year’s racing season in order to concentrate on recovering his health.
Last year, Folger rode for Yamaha’s Tech3 satellite team and, in many eyes, showed he has what it takes to win at the highest level of motorcycle racing, earning a second-place finish at the Sachsenring in July and finishing the season 10th overall as a rookie. Not bad.
Unfortunately for Folger, he missed the last four races of the year due to illness. At first, it was suspected he was suffering from mononucleosis, but he was eventually diagnosed with Gilbert’s syndrome, a genetic ailment of the liver (find the Mayo Clinic’s explanation here).
Now, Folger says his health issues mean he doesn’t feel capable of riding this season. From the official MotoGP press release: “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 hope to be back one day and want to thank you all for your ongoing support.”
That creates a big hole on the Tech3 team, usually one of the faster squads, as the management must scramble now to find a replacement rider.
The response from the rest of the MotoGP paddock was very sympathetic, with many racers passing on their sympathies and get-well-soon wishes via social media.