Jonas Folger Pulls Out Of Racing For 2018 To Focus On Recovery

The 2018 season starts off with a nasty surprise for the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team. Today, the team announced that Jonas Folger will not be racing in 2018, leaving them without a second rider for the coming season.

The reason Folger gave for pulling out of racing is to focus on recovery from the health issues he suffered at the end of 2017. The German was forced to pull out of the three Asian flyaways, after health problems later diagnosed as Gilbert's Syndrome, a genetic disorder of the liver which causes chronic fatigue. Folger still does not feel at 100% fitness, and decided to take a year out of racing to focus fully on his recovery.

Folger's decision leaves the Tech 3 team in a very difficult position. The terms of the team's contract with Dorna, and their contracts with sponsors, state that they must field two riders for 2018. But with just 11 days until the start of the Sepang test, the first official test of the 2018 season, just about every candidate worth considering is already tied up with contracts for the coming year. Finding a replacement will involve either buying a rider out of his existing contract, or trying to find a rider without a contract who is still fast enough to compete. 

Normally, the first avenue Tech 3 would explore would be their ties with Yamaha. That would involve talking to Yamaha about the availability of riders already under contract to the Japanese factory. The first port of call might be the Pata Yamaha WorldSBK team, but with the start of the 2018 WorldSBK season so close, losing either Alex Lowes or Michael van der Mark to the Tech 3 team would be a major blow for the Pata Yamaha squad. Enquiries indicate that there is no talk currently of either rider making the move. 

Another alternative might be one of the riders currently racing for Yamaha in the All Japan Superbike championship, as both Katsuyuki Nakasuga and Kohta Nozane are under contract to Yamaha, and have experience racing the Yamaha MotoGP bike. Nakasuga would almost certainly rule out a move to MotoGP, if offered the chance, as the 36-year-old has no desire to leave his young family to travel around the world. Nozane is a more likely candidate, as the 22-year-old has already subbed for Folger at Motegi.

The more likely replacement for Folger will come from experienced riders who are currently only testing. The most obvious name would be Sylvain Guintoli, though his contract with Suzuki as a MotoGP test rider could cause an issue. Guintoli raced the Suzuki GSX-RR as a replacement for Alex Rins in 2017, and has a history with Tech 3, having ridden for them in 2007. 

Former MotoGP rider Stefan Bradl is also without a contract to race for 2018, though he has signed up to be a test rider for Honda. Bradl's long history with Honda may be an objection, though the German also has brief experience with Yamaha, having ridden the Forward Yamaha CRT bike for the first half of the 2015 season, before replacing Marco Melandri at Aprilia. 

If neither a Yamaha rider nor a rider out of contract can be found, Poncharal and Tech 3 could be left to try and buy an existing rider out of their contract. For a competitive rider, that could be an expensive affair, especially if they are signed up with other factories. Tech 3 could look to Moto2 for a replacement, but that too is fraught with complications. A rider such as Pecco Bagnaia could be brought up into MotoGP early, as Bagnaia's strong ties to the VR46 Riders Academy would make him a natural fit for Yamaha, and keep him in the family. Alternatively, Tech 3 could decided to move Remy Gardner up to MotoGP, a cheap option, as finding a replacement in Moto2 is a much easier exercise than finding a MotoGP rider. If Xavi Vierge had not left the team at the end of this year, this would have been a solid bet, as Poncharal was very impressed with the performance of the Spaniard.

At the moment, though, it is absolutely not clear who will replace Folger. Even Hervé Poncharal won't know yet, as it is so hard to find a replacement so quickly. 

What the future holds for Folger after this year is similarly unclear. The German may have burned his bridges at Tech 3, despite the confidence Poncharal had in him - Tech 3 had tried to sign Folger for two years previously, before finally getting him to sign in MotoGP. The tone of Poncharal's statement in the press release is one of suppressed anger, reading between the lines. Given the enormous problems Folger has lumped Poncharal with, that is hardly surprising. 

The press release from Tech 3 appears below:

Jonas Folger will not race in 2018

One week before the start of the first Official MotoGP test this year, Jonas Folger has decided not to race in the 2018 MotoGP season with Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, as he doesn’t feel completely ready, physically and mentally, at the moment. However, to be honest with himself and his Monster Yamaha Tech3 team, he made the hard decision to skip the 2018 racing season in order to finally be able to fully recover with less pressure.


“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.”

Team manager

“Last night (Tuesday) 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. 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.”


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I would think that Yamaha could convince Rossi to let Bagnaia move up to MotoGP - after all, is that not the point of the Sky V46 Academy?  Sure there are plenty of young Italian riders would would jump at the chance to ride the VR46 Moto3 bike, if Bulega was sent up to Moto2.

... and such a disappointing thing to hear, I can only imagine how Folger feels (emotionally) at this stage. Hopefully we get to see him chasing Marquez around the Sachsenring again some day.

On his replacement, my personal choice is a somewhat ridiculous one, but I would love to see Cameron Beaubier get a shot on a competive bike in MotoGP. America needs a rider in the series badly as well.

Others will undoubtedly disagree, but I think he's got the chops for it.

 Glad I'm not the only one that hasn't forgotten about Ben Spies. He has already hinted at trying to come back, still young enough to be fast, knows the tracks, knows the bike and the team, and isn't under contract with anyone (as far asI know). Why isn't he signed already? 

What about Cameron Beaubier?? He's already with Yamaha in the US, he's a two time Superbike champ, did well whilst subbing in WSBK and he's still young and currently stuck in America... would be a perfect fit and great long shot in MGP with Tech 3

MotoGP could use an American rider. Worst case, if no Spies or Beaubier, bring back the Texas Tornado.  I may subscribe to their feed again.

I feel for Herve Poncharal.  But I have faith he will snatch someone out of nowhere that will do well.  The man is a genius at picking riders he can inspire.

Expletive. Well that puts Herve in a difficult position. the timing is awkward. Recruitment & interviewing is a drag. Plenty of other work to do at this stage of the pre-season. I am confident Tech 3 will find someone for the job. No doubt M Poncheral will receive stacks of applications for this position.

Likely candidates? Ben Spies himself says "My right shoulder is probably 70 percent, but I know I can hold on to the bike." in an interview in Cycle world. Ben says he is planning to ride a dirt bike this year. I don't see Herve signing a rider with a medical problem that is likely to affect the rider's performance.

Sylvain Guintoli sure he can ride a motorcycle & may not cost too much to buy out his current contract & Sylvain is french. he is only 35ish, younger than VR46 but not young. S. G. has tons of experience & may work well with Johann Zarco. All the smiling Frenchmen in one team?

Remy Gardner, Young enough. I would love to see another Aussie in the class, But not sure R.G. is at the right stage in his career to move up. Good luck to him if he does.

I was thinking Herve might be making some strategic plans for his team if Yahama choose not to supply bikes to Tech 3 but now Herve has to work hard to get what he needs in place quickly to be ready in time for testing & the first race.

Tech 3 doesn't need to sign anyone right away, just need someone to make the first test of the season. They could probably try out a couple of folks at the first test.

I hope he recovers fully. I have no idea who should be drafted into the seat. All good guys are under contract already, I suppose.

Ironically, this is the first year for a while that Ant actually has a full time ride - his own team, Team West EAB.  I'd love to see him back in Motogp, but I'd also love to see him really challenge for a title in SSP.

Totally forgot about this. About time. He's looked so sharp the two years of this constant wild carding stuff.  

I like this one! West has been so impressive in his ridiculous amount of wildcards and spontaneous rides in various championships.  I don't know what the stigma is surrounding him. He is clearly still competitive. 

I think it's going to be very difficult to find a suitable replacement right now.

Cameron Beaubier - I think MotoAmerica to MotoGP is too big a jump.

Ben Spies - I can't imagine anyone wanting to deal with the "baggage" that entails. There are certain people in his camp that I don't think anyone is missing since he left. Plus, he's not healthy enough.

Pata Yamaha riders - I don't see Yamaha wanting to back down from that investment.

JD Beach - Be serious. JD's a good guy, but MotoAmerica Supersport 600's to a 2017-spec ex-factory Yamaha MotoGP bike? That's not even a funny punchline to a joke.

Mika Kalio - He's hungry to rejoin the paddock and is a fast rider, but I don't see KTM being willing to let him go. Could be a possibility, though.

I don't see anyone currently in the MotoGP paddock being a viable option. The only options I can see from my point are either a strong Moto2 rider (especially someone from the VR46 camp), or a Japanese development rider. Any other option seems to be either too expensive to buy out, or unavailable for other reasons.

This seems to be perceived such that Jonas has somehow betrayed the team with this 'late' announcement.  I view it that he has in fact been incredibly decent in admitting that he will not be 100% for some time and (even though late) has given the team a chance to get a rider for a whole season.

The alternative would have been for him to string them along, miss the tests, maybe miss the first few races and claim to be returning at Jerez and so on, all the while simply hoping (against medical advicce) that he will come good earlier than planned.  Imagine how hard this decision would have been for Jonas, to forfeit the entire second season of a ride he has worked up to all his life, and likely set back his future prospects as well.

This sort of thing is much more complex than the typical broken bones, gravel rash and so on that MotoGP riders usually suffer.  I hope he makes a full recovery and makes it back into the sport.

Vierge must be absolutely kicking himself for jumping ship from Tech3 about now... it's clear HP rated him highly and was very disappointed (even offended?) at his leaving.

Remy Gardner no.
Bagnaia yes.
J.D. Beach maybe.
I like the idea of gambling on a youngster much more than other options.
Nozane only as a temp until a suitable rider is lined up.

Unfortunate! Good luck Herve, and sorry to hear it Folger - tough to replace such a good rider.

Not having a top-level ride may limit his lap times, but Remy has shown a surprising lack of maturity in his racecraft. Someday, but not now.  Ant West yes !

Looks like Yonny Hernandez has been picked as a temp for the first test.

I don't think it was Herve that primarily did the choosing, Dorna did.

Whatever rider does get the call to get this Yamaha satellite seat is going to be a very happy person. Such an atypical way for things to happen, it is going to be someone that struck gold that had lead in hand. We have zero idea who it is! The gift is unwrapped, but the recipient is in a box with a bow. Please be a kid. Please be a fast kid. That gets quick quickly.

Nozane for the test is a no brainer. I throw Garrett Gerloff into the hat. Gerloff's contract would be the cheapest to buy out, it's with Yamaha and he's the U.S. Supersport Champion. He's also a young talent Herve could work wonders with.

He may not bring them a world championship but he'll be faster than any test rider that's ever thrown a leg over that bike, he's smart enough and doggone it, people like him.

Sorry MotoShrink apparently Pecco Bagnaia's contract won't allow it. I heard this from a rider who has done the VR46 academy who stated he spoke to Pecco Bagnaia this morning (Aust time).

I think probably not Ant West, not popular with Yamaha. I agree not Remy Gardner, Remy came to mind because of his connection to Tech 3. I think Mad Mike Jones has a connection to Ducati so M.J.46 seems unlikely. Daniel Falzon is a Yamaha guy. It's a huge step up from Aussie superbike to MotoGp. Daniel Falzon would give it a crack i'm sure.

Nozane could step up, I think he has experience testing the jamjar MotoGp bike. If Kohta Nozane does well in the first few races why not let him continue. Yamaha would love to see that.

I wonder who will have the Tech 3 seat when the music stops. Interesting times. thanks for the stimulating article David.

quite a few names already passed by, plenty of options... hard choices to be made. Haven't seen Baz's name yet.
Most of the people already have things signed up, but a Tech3 Yamaha seems to be a "once in a lifetime" opportunity.

... not that it means anything coming from me. ;)
Well this is obviously a bummer for sure. The JJ duo (Jonas & Johann) have been my two fave riders since the 125's and so 2017 Tech 3 was this fan's dream team. <sigh> 
I truly hope that Jonas recovers but I'm not going to hold my breath as far as his future MGP career, the business of it doesn't take kindly to extended leaves of absence.  
My first thought of possible replacements were West and Bradl. As much as I'd love to see Baz get another crack obviously his Althea contract would have to be bought out and if I was his manager, I'm not sure that would be a move I'd recommend (if in fact it got to the table). Assuming he could get better results on the Yamaha vs Ducati, I still don't see any of the factories changing their mind and suddenly deciding they want him in the fold now. Not to mention with Johann's arrival, Loris' importance to Carmelo is now null and void.
Also regarding all the Motoamerica riders mentioned. The series is improving but still trying to really get a foothold here in the US and taking any of the few "stars" that exist there now away is not going to help them get more eyeballs on their racing IMO. Far more people watch MGP here already then MotoA.

I feel sorry for Folger and for German fans. Germany needs so badly a motorcycle hero. I remember well his podium at Sachsenring: that was amazing.

About the replacement: it would be a mistake to take one of the SBK riders to Tech3. Maybe the best solution for 2018 is to try Nozane, who has got talent and could even be a surprise.

Casey Stoner?  he LOVES to screw over his past employers……..why not jump on a Yamaha and beat the Ducati's and Honda's ? 

** I know, I know....  I'm dreaming.  Would be cool however**


Colin Edwards ?  Seriously.  I know he's retired and all, but he's a huge fan favourite.  Great PR move.  No pressure for him.  Good guidance for Zarco, if anything he's one hell of a story teller.  Imagine the laughs with his crazy ass on the team !? 

or, take a flyer on a super young guy. (Again difficult because almost everyone is under contract).
but, if they could find a young prospect from Moto3.  Can't be worse than the Jack Miller situation in his first year in MotoGP.


or finally, Troy Balliss ?  Great PR again, and I believe he wants to ride in the Australian SBK this year?

If they are smart, they could find a way to bring lots of attention to their team.  Obviously their team will focus 100% on Zarco and the 2nd rider should be PR move.  Nothing would be expected.


Please don't tell me that Yamaha HQ will force them to take a boring Japanese test rider.  Zzzzzzzzz   snoozefest !

Allez mon Hervé !  Pense à autres chose.  Un peu de créativité pourrait bien vous aider dans ces moments difficiles.  Bon courage. 

For Folger first. Sounds like the end of his career. :-/

For us : we're losing a fast rider who exhibited very stronf performances in 2017. 

For Tech3. they struggled to have news from their rider during the end of 2017 and now it's late to find someone. 

Usual suspects come to my mind : Experienced and fast guys like Guintoli and Bradl, Nozane. I don't see Mahias, VDM leave their championship.  Maybe a few riders would be ready to pay for a rider ? Y. Hernandez maybe ? 

Maybe Sandro Cortese ? Moto3 world champion and kinda fast in moto2 ?  

I'm a bit short of ideas. 

Is that Mr Folger gets better. My feeling on this is that he will be back. Often things happen to young adults and they come back stronger than ever. And this dude went toe to toe with MM this season and that speaks to both his ability and his strength of character. 

While I enjoyed all the speculation about the replacement rider, I think that Suzuka proved that Mr Lowes is the next best Yamaha hope. 


And I say this being a fan of Jonas (though not my favorite rider). One week before testing starts with new material??? Come on Jonas. This is something that should've happened at least a month ago if it were to be a possibility in your head. 

That said, IMO there are 3 obvious replacements outside of Moto2/WSBK that have already proven themselves in their current domestic series. Cam Beaubier, Josh Hayes and Toni Elias. All in MotoAmerica. Josh Hayes would be the easiest pick as he's not contracted to race this year, but raced up until last year. But his age over the course of the season might be an issue.

Cam could make the jump and then Hayes fill his spot due to being a free agent. Not much mess there either. Garrett Gerloff could always also fill Cam's spot (rather than Hayes) and Yamaha would still have JD Beach on the 600.

Then of course Toni, but this would mean he'd need to be bought out of his Suzuki SBK contract. 

I don't think there is a Yamaha rider in BSB that would be a good fit to make the jump based on Josh Brookes not doing very well in WSBK. The Yamaha guys in the Aussie series seem to lack experience. Maybe Troy Herfoss, but he's always been a Honda guy and not sure how old he is.

Ultimately, Herve needs someone who's not just gonna make up the numbers. He needs someone who is going to make a splash at least at some rounds. I think you gotta go with a young guy to do that. 

Obvious choice would probably be Bradl, his contract with Honda is probably not too high to buy out and Dorna has a german rider in the series.

Second is Nozane, last year he showed some promise and bravery plus Yamaha gets a japanese rider. He is young and can still learn a lot. For Nakasuka, I don`t see a chance, he has the expirience, but lack speed and is not really a young prospect.

WSB riders... well I don`t see VDM before Lowes, as Lowes was faster and mores consistent in last years championship and also Suzuka.

Riders from USA Superbike. That in my opinion is a bit out of the world, I see no really promising riders there, I mean they were all outclassed by Toni Elias last year, rider who couldn`t get a seat in GP or WSBK... so if anyone, then Elias from that championship. And of top of all I think also BSB is much stronger championship then Moto America.

For sure I agree that the top 5, top 10, top 15 are. But no way the top 2 in each championship against each other. 

In BSB you have a geriatric guy who wins the title every year no matter what bike he is on beating all the youngsters. Throw him on a pedal bike and he'd still do the business. In BSB, you also have many more competetive bikes. True Superbikes. 

In Moto America, we have 4 factory superbikes. Two Yams and two Suzukis. That's all. Every thing else is a privately entered "superbike" (less than a handful) and the remaining majority of the field is Superstock. We run two classes together to make up the numbers so it doesn't look like the MotoGp grid from 5-6 years back.

That said, Cam Beaubier has been the man until Suzuki showed up with a pretty dominant bike last season. Up until that point, he had Elias covered and won the two preceeding titles, the only ones he had been part of to that point. Josh Hayes and Roger Lee Hayden run these guys fairly close at most tracks. 

Unfortunately, besides a one-off at Donington WSBK, Cam has not gotten a crack at world level racing. I still think he is a much better choice (as well as Elias) than anyone in BSB. 

That said, I still agree that overall the BSB is stronger than MotoAmerica. 



I wish Cam could get a shot at Moto GP, but I wouldn't hire him.

In 2016, when Elias was on a bike he'd never ridden before, on tracks he'd never seen before, Cameron beat him by seven measly points.

in 2017, when Elias had one year of experience under his belt, Cameron was never a factor.

Beaubier did that title with 3 times as many DNFs as Elias. As far as the bike knowledge goes, that's overrated. 

You can flip that and say Elias has a wealth more experience on liter bikes and racing at a higher level. Remember, besides years in MotoGp, he also raced at least one season in WSBK as I recall. Didn't do too well as I recall either. Pretty sure 2016 was only Beaubier's second year on a liter bike.

And even the learning the track part is overrated at that level. Not to mention, I'm pretty sure Elias had been to Laguna before. 

Definitely more upside to Beaubier than Toni Sunglasses.

First off, I feel incredibly disappointed and sad for Jonas. This can't have been an easy decision for him to make at this stage of his career and it might as well mean the end of it, at least in the MotoGP class. A true loss to the championship and the fans as well, he clearly has the potential and mindset to mix it up with the best of them as we've seen last year.

While I understand that this puts everyone involved, the team, sponsors, and especially Herve, into an incredibly difficult situation, I do believe after a cursory view of the reactions from the different camps that maybe Jonas should be cut some more slack. Ever since the diagnosis was made he was clear in all his statements about the uncertain recovery period and didn't make any promises. It's hardly his fault to be suffering from a hereditary disease that went undiscovered for years and obviously he would try his hardest to still make it to the races if in any way possible. In that regard I was quite surprised to hear Herve's statements in an interview with German TV at Valencia last year where he already sounded quite impatient for Jonas to return soon and not all too caring, to be frank. It might be available online somewhere if anyone's interested to watch it, but I found it a rather unusual response from Herve who normally is quite open about things, fiercely supportive of his riders and trying to put a positive spin on everything going on. So I do hope that this situation does not mean "all bridges burnt" for Folger, because it does not seem like he did anything wrong, he's just been incredibly unlucky.

dePuniet has tested MotoGP recently (for Suzuki I think), plus he's only signed to do World Endurance with a team running Kawasakis this season. French and not sponsored by Red Bull, so should be cheap enough.

Yes he was Suzuki's test rider during their time away the grid. Then he had a miserable year in WSBK for them. Then he was KTM's test rider until Mika signed on with them. Now as you say he's doing quite well in the Endurance series (Pole at LeMans this year). But let's face it, while his contract could be inexpensive, his equipement costs... prolly not so much. ;)

I view him as a more personable and entertaining version of Sam Lowes at this point. :)

Brookes, Laverty, and Ellison are all on litre R1s.....with some experience (and baggage).

I did some more reading about Gilbert's Syndrome and while it might be the case that Jonas waited until the last minute to inform his team, he made a solid decision for his long term health.  This is a genetic disorder (as David noted), and the recognized forms of treatment are non-pharmaceutical (so there's no magic pill or silver bullet solution.)  Lack of stress...not likely to occur at this level of sport.  

This outcome also caused me to wonder if riders (AKA athletes) and their managers, agents, et al communicate frequently especially in the off-season (as they appear to do in American professional sports) versus only as needed or in crisis situations.

I can't assign blame to Jonas for waiting until the proverbial last minute to make this decision as this is likely his sole professional goal in life, to race at this level, and to back out of it and likely be out of the sport entirely as a racer has to be heartbreaking. 

That is a half truth, fortunately.

In extreme hyperbilirubinemia phenobarbitals may be used until the condition is under controls.
Phenobarbitals being not being your average OTC medication have fairly serious and common side-effects and are reserved as a temporary and last resort measure.

Now I have voiced my doubts about Jonas' disability stemming from Gilbert's in another post, but for the purpose of this reply, I will treat is as a defintive truth.

There's no easy fix for raised blood levels of bilirubin which is the main outcome of Gilbert's.
Long story short, our livers (me being one Gilbert's happy bunch) do not produce enough glucoronyltransferase.

What is glucoronyltransferase? An enzyme geared towards conjugating bilirubin.

See, bilirubin primarily comes in a fat soluble form, called unconjugated bilirubin or indirect bilirubin, and our bodies have a much harder time expelling fat soluble things than water soluble ones, so glucoronyltransferase - the liver produced enzyme - conjugates it into cojugated or direct bilirubin which the body can more easily discard.

My next point is this: every functioning organism can function better or worse depending on external factors.

So, while there is no direct response to Gilbert's in form of a safe, non side-effect inducing pill, there is a managment path. Overloading your liver less will most likely result in better bilirubin conjugation, this means abstaining from overly fatty foods and alcohol amongst other thing.

Sunlight can also help, as UV rays help conjugate bilirubin with winter sunlight interestingly enough being more effective. In case you happen to live in a particularly dark area, phototeraphy is also effective.

So you see, it's not a clear case of "deal with it", but rather a case of finding a way to deal with it.

That being said, as a person with constantly raised bilirubin level, and a blood-based diagnosis of Gilbert's, I am fatigued when I haven't been able to catch my regular 8 hours of sleep, or on a particularly drizzly, dreary day and not much else.

I am not fully convinced that Gilbert's is to blame for fatigue, and while there are people with Gilbert's who complain of fatigue amongst other issues, and there have been some theories around why it could be so, a direct link is yet to be found, but in any case I believe it can be dealt with.

Personally when I am on a stricter regiment, I am able to almost get it under normal values, being just a few numbers off, but when I train harder, which usually is around 8 or sometimes more hours per week (with 24 hours per week being the highest recorded number for me) it does tend to go for the highscore. Subjectively however, I think it is more affected by poor sleep hygiene and stress rather than exercise. I have to say subjectively because one person does not make a case study, i take blood test sporadically, change too many variables and I am obserivng myself which not just opens the door for subjectivity, but knocks a whole of the room down.

Am I some sort of authority on this issue? Of course not.
However I am someone who is somewhat read on the issue and happens to have it (most likely) imprinted in his DNA.

The most likely part is because most Gilbert's syndrome diagnosis are blood test based, a diagnosis which is satisfactory for the large majority but will never be definitive.

Sorry for making a marathon out of this, but I reckoned I could be useful in explaining the condition if not anything else, and i don't often get the chance to be useful.

Thanks for the information. I think it makes quite clear that:

- finding a way to deal with this does combine with topsport very badly. Especially when there is alot of (oversea) travelling involved, crashes, and high very high pressures.

It makes the choice of Jonas  understandable (even if it the end of his career). It is not understood well maybe in a topsport environment. But that is the nature of the beast. Being in top sport environments is not about empathy !

Sad to see a young promising newcomer go. Previous season was very solid and even surprising. Unfortunately a little overshadowed by his teammate. Truth is that if Jonas would join in 2019 and not improve it would mean the end of his career as well, since that is the way it works on this level

he was very fast on Michelins, lost out when BS was the only option ... 34 years old, but still active (current AMA champion) - under Suzuki contract I believe, but that could be dealt with ... 

Can't see why Poncharal's panties are in a twist, he doesn't have Gilbert's syndrome! Jonas has a tough road ahead of him and knows that this could end his MotoGP career. It's not like he got this disease on purpose! I wish him luck on his recovery. If you don't have your health you have nothing, something Herve should think on. 

With all die respect to Jonas and the medical team around him I am having a tough time believing this is from Gilbert's.

Before I get under scrutiny let me cash my check in: around 5 years ago I too was diagnosed with Gilbert's...somethig that up to 5% of the global population has.

It was diagnosed based on an unrelated test, as Gilbert's often is.

The thing is, while some Gilbert's "suferers" report fatigue to this date there is no evidence of it causing fatigue.

Now, I am no jet lagged, world renown athlete but I am a mid distance cyclist, short distance runner and an ocassional leasure swimmer, and inmy most active week last year I have logged 470 kilometers on a loaded bicycle. Why am I telling you this? Because Gilbert's is exaverbates by exercise.

Are the whites of my eyes yellow? Yes.
Is my total bilirubin level high chronicaly? Yes.
Am i fatigued? No.

Gilbert's is such a non issue for most that in a peculiar fashion, people with Gilbert's seem to actually live slightly longer on average.

Now maybe Jonas has another condition, maybe Gilbert's does present itself in a variety of severities, although no extremes are regularly found as far as I know but maybe it is just nerves.

I am not treading on Jonas' character, a rider down to Earth, likeable and fast, but this sport like so many is a high caloric one and people, like Manuel Pogiali for instance, have been known to burn out.

I hope it's something that Jonas can recover from, and I know I sound harsh, but as a man with the condition previously mentioned I seriously have a hard time believing what's written.

It must be hard for Folger, really really hard. You need to suffer a lot when you take this kind of decision. Hope he'll find a way, on a bike or not.

Poncharal will recover, the pain will disappear faster for him than for Folger. He has the power to make a pilot happy, very very happy. A bike with potential podium!

Sad and interesting. is time to pick up that phone and call your manager and Kawasaki, and get your ass over to MotoGP! Now!

I have got an idea about who may replace Jonas Folger: Domi Aegerter! And Cortese gets the Moto2 KTM Kiefer seat.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned his name here... 

Third in the Moto2 championship, won the last 3 races easy, plus a bunch of podiuns... also second in the Moto3 championship...

Ho wait, I get it... wrong nationality... won't attract money.... :) 

Either way, joking aside, I think his contract with KTM is strong enough and he wants to fight to be world champion, plus KTM already said they want a junior team in 2019 in Motogp to promote their Moto2 riders so... maybe he will stick with a factory backing :) 

But would be nice to see him on a Yamaha :) 

Mig is on a trajectory with KTM and dumping that for a one year ride on a last-year Yam with no realistic possibility to get on factory equipment in the future is almost certainly a worse deal than he has.  Nope, Miguel should stay where he is and win the Moto2 title and along with Binder move up to KTM MotoGP next year - either in the factory team or the predicted near-works-spec satellite team.  I can't really see a way that the Tech3 ride would be a benefit to him.

Historically, riding a Tech3 is a good way to step up to a factory - as they're one of the few satellite bikes with a chance of a podium most weekends.  Dovi, Cal, Spies, Barros, Checa, Pol, Smith - all rode for Tech3.

Winning moto2 doesn't necessarily mean a chance to get a good bike.  Zarco won it twice and 'only' got to step up to tech3 - and even then people were surprised at how well he did in 2017.  Pol won and went to tech3 and people were disappointed in how poorly he did.  Morbidelli won it and is stuck on a second rate Honda this year.

Mig is not riding just any old Moto2, he's riding a KTM.  If he (or Binder) win the Moto2 title (KTM's first intermediate title) I find it all but impossible to believe they will not have an automatic seat on a factory KTM MotoGP, or a very well supported satellite if that comes to pass.  Unless Smith has a very different 2018 then that seat is certainly up for grabs, Pol has done quite well really and they might want to keep him on for some continuity to avoid a Suzuki 2017.  If they run a satellite team then I could perfectly see them having Pol and the better of Mig or Brad in the factory squad, and potentially the other of Mig/Brad plus a paying (but still promising) rider in the satellite.

One of the senior KTM boffins made an interesting comment late last year in that to win they need to work with a young rider, not draft in an established (what used to be called) alien.  If Marquez wins on a KTM it is due to Marquez, if he does not it is due to the KTM - basically the Rossi/Ducati chapter.  So KTM are aware they need to promote from within and try to find someone who will just click.

I really don't see what the fuzz is around Binder... all the media seem to praise him so much but I haven't seen him do anything to put him up so high ...

He won the Moto3 with no clear oposition rider wise and on a KTM that was clearly the best machine,  as Miguel proved the year before has he dominated the second half of the season and almost took the Moto3 title... 

Last year even after coming back to full fitness, he never showed he could keep up with Miguel, Practice or Racing... even the KTM test rider that made some races was much closer to Miguel then he ever was.... 

Maybe there is a big interest in having a South African doing well, market wise? 



I see Binder ending up at astronaut (2nd tier) or third tier MotoGP level.

As for RSA, if Dorna really cared about the market they would find a way to hold a round again at Phakisa Freeway.

Yes C. P. not sure about Brad Binder he seemed to take quite a while to come to grips with the Moto2 bike & class.

I agree if Dorna really cared MotoGp would be racing at the scene of V.R.46's first race & 1st victory on the Yamaha. But it seems they don't care. Soon MotoGp will have Twenty rounds! No sign of the circus ever going anywhere in Afrika. But no trouble adding more rounds in Europe i.e. Finland. Maybe two rounds in South America, but not Africa. Is it a world championship? or what ?

Binder is favoured because of the way in which he won the moto3 championshiop - dominantly.  There were the famous races where he started at the back and still made it to the front.  It took him a few years to shine, but once he started winning the flood gates opened.  I've also always thought Oliviera was an underated rider, but I can see why there's hype for Binder.

Between Rins, Oliviera, Morbidelli, Binder, and Mir [et al] - I think we have many great riders to look forward to.


Unless Tech 3 and KTM already have something in the pipe for them to be the Junior KTM team in 2019 and then it would make sense? wishful thinking... 


So, Dorna sticking true to their promise to “visibly” reduce Spanish presence in the paddock have evidently pushed, prodded or nudged Tech3 into selecting Y Hernandez into Folger’s seat?

I, as well as many others get the appeal of a putting an Argentinian rider into the GP paddock as they have a venue to sell, many American riders are there in the GP series?  I could see how it could be argued that a Beach, Beaubier, hell even Hayes (who I’m a big fan of) can’t be called up against the likes of other current Yamaha riders Van der Mark or Lowes that should be considered. But a failed GP rider, who reveled in anonymity in Moto2 is a better choice?  REALLY????

I was thinking some creative maneuvering from Yamaha might have been in place that saw Michael or Alex move up to GP and Beaubier move up to WSBK.  Guess that would have been too easy, made too much sense, or in this case, just plain wishful thinking.


Dear goodness me no. If Herve gets lumbered with Yonny he has surely to have got Dorna to pay for repairs following all the crashes that will ensue. He has had his chance and has consistently not shown anything. They'd be much better off giving Nozane the bike.

To all the folks calling for US riders - given Toni Elias can turn up and boss the domestic series it's hard to see international managers take a lot of the current crop seriously. They need to do as PJ Jacobsen did and get out to the world stage early.