Folger announces exit from Yamaha MotoGP test role
Jonas Folger is disappointed with the late decision as he announces split with Yamaha MotoGP team from his test role.
After leaving MotoGP at the end of the 2017 season due to illness, Folger returned to action at the start of 2019 after skipping whole of 2018, albeit in a test role with Yamaha factory outfit. The German started on an extensive test programme then.
He ran in various private tests with Yamaha during the course of the 2019 MotoGP season, which included the first-ever run at Finland's KymiRing circuit. Folger even made a racing return in Moto2 with Petronas Sprinta Racing for multiple rounds.
But his career has stalled for the time being after a late decision by Yamaha to split with the German rider ahead of the 2020 MotoGP season. Folger expressed his disappointment, especially as he turned down various offers from Moto2 and World Superbike teams.
"This bad news has come as a surprise for me," said Folger. "I had the verbal agreement that Yamaha wants to continue with me and even expand this project. We were already talking about what the test plan and other missions might look like.
"But then suddenly came the rejection, although I was promised that I should soon receive the contract by Yamaha. But it was decided that their test program should again be carried out exclusively by Japanese drivers. So I was stopped for a long time.
"The disappointment is great, of course, because I stiffened completely on this project and canceled all other options for next year. Too bad, it would have been a very interesting challenge and at the same time a versatile task which I would have been very happy.
"In the role of the test driver I've also learned a lot so far. But at the moment I do not know how to continue my career. There are not many reasonable options at this late stage," Folger summed up. The news comes at a time as Yamaha continues to struggle.
The Japanese manufacturer has two wins in 2019 courtesy Maverick Vinales but they are supremely behind Honda and Ducati, with even Suzuki now looking in a better shape. Their own satellite team, Petronas SRT, has done as well in their debut season.
Despite the shortcomings, Vinales and Valentino Rossi will continue with Yamaha in 2020 as they push to regain their lost status. As Folger mentioned, it looks like the test work will be carried out by Japanese riders but it remains to be seen if they hire anyone in Europe.