Folger back 'doing what I enjoy most', wants wild-card

'I want to do [a MotoGP wild-card]. I think there's a chance, but first of all it's important to test and improve the bike' - Jonas Folger, Yamaha test rider.
Folger back 'doing what I enjoy most', wants wild-card

Jonas Folger hopes he will get the chance to do at least one wild-card race entry as part of his new role as Yamaha's European MotoGP test rider.

The German returned to the M1 at Valencia last month, just over a year after being forced to halt his racing career due to extreme fatigue problems while in the closing stages of a rookie premier-class campaign with Tech3 Yamaha.

Folger's stand-out ride from that season was a brilliant second place to Marc Marquez in front of his home fans at the Sachsenring. But perhaps the pair will get to renew their duel at the circuit in 2019…

"There is a chance, yes," Folger replied, when asked if he might get to do some wild-cards next season. "We were talking about it, but first of all we need to do some more tests and see if we are fast enough.

"But I want to do it, yes. I think there's a chance, but first of all it's important to improve the bike for the other two [factory] riders. That's the main priority."



Folger has been brought in by Yamaha at the behest of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales, who have both been pushing to have a fast, young rider helping to develop new parts for the M1.

Rossi even credited the absent Folger for helping him finish runner-up to Marquez at this year's German round.

"Last year, Folger did a fantastic race, at the level of Marc," said the Italian. "So I studied Folger's [2017] race, all the lines and which way he rode the bike, which way he set-up the bike. Everything.

"Folger, last year, was a good help for me this year - so we have to give him the trophy!"

Folger's mission now is to help Yamaha regain the ground lost to Ducati and Honda, the factory instructing the 25-year-old that they want to find "more life in the tyres, especially from the middle to the end of the race.

"So that's why we are going to try a lot of different mappings on the electronics side," Folger explained.

"That's also why it feels so different to what I used to know, because they are trying to make a smoother engine. That's what we are looking for."

Pressed on how the bike has changed since 2017, Folger replied: "It's just a different behaviour for the first touch of the throttle, so the power use is much different. It's smoother at the beginning, which is really good, but it was quite a big change for me as a rider."

Despite only doing some occasional Moto2 testing since his last M1 race appearance at Aragon 2017, Folger said he felt in good physical shape and is happy to be back doing what he enjoys most.

"I'm good. It's my first time on the bike after a long break, so I feel my arms a bit after these two days. But if you do more testing the body gets used to it and it's going to be better.

"I'm very happy to be a part of this new project from Yamaha and I can do what I want to do the most, which is riding a MotoGP bike. So I'm enjoying it."

Folger did not take part in the following Jerez test and recently injured his collarbone in a motocross training accident.

Fortunately, he has until the start of February to recover before he is due on track for Yamaha at the official Sepang test.

"Basically [Valencia] was more for me than for Yamaha, to try to understand the bike. Then we are going to continue at Sepang."