MotoGP

Ex-MotoGP rider Folger to make first start in 21 months at Barcelona

Former MotoGP racer Jonas Folger will make his first race start in almost two years in next weekend’s Barcelona Moto2 race.

Folger’s maiden MotoGP campaign with the Tech3 Yamaha squad in 2017 yielded a podium at the Sachsenring, but was cut short when he contracted the Epstein-Barr virus, which forced him to skip the final four rounds of the year.

He also spent the first part of 2018 on the sidelines, but in the second half of the year returned to testing action for Moto2 chassis supplier Kalex and then picked up a deal to spearhead Yamaha’s newly-established European test team for 2019.

At Barcelona, Folger will make his first race outing since the 2017 Aragon MotoGP race when he deputises for the injured Mattia Pasini at the Petronas-backed SIC team in the intermediate class.

“I’m really excited to get the chance to be competing again,” said Folger.

“I can’t wait to get back on a bike and get that racing feeling.

“Petronas Sprinta Racing are an exceptionally professional team in all three categories and I know some of the crew in the Moto2 squad from the past.

“I’m looking forward to working with them again, especially as I have some good friends there.

“The Kalex is a really fun bike to ride because the riding style is very similar to what you use in MotoGP.

“The Triumph engine feels closer to a MotoGP bike, it suits me and I didn’t do badly in testing, so I can’t wait to get going again on it.”

Pasini, who himself has been standing in for injured SIC regular Khairul Idham Pawi, broke his left collarbone while riding a motocross bike in training.

The Italian Moto2 veteran had made two starts for SIC at Le Mans and Mugello, which followed appearances at Austin and Jerez with the Pons and Angel Nieto teams respectively.

SIC team principal Dato Razlan Razali said Folger’s arrival “will bring an extra element to the team and help push our Moto2 programme along in anticipation of Pawi’s return later this season”, while team boss Jonas Stigefelt labelled Folger as “a superb signing”.

“The battle in Moto2 is very tight, but we know we have a lot of potential,” added Stigefelt.

“It’s only beneficial for us to work with a rider like Jonas.”

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