Folger to replace Espargaro in GasGas MotoGP team

Jonas Folger has been selected as the replacement rider for Pol Espargaro in the GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 MotoGP team.

#94 GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 KTM RC16. - GasGas Media

Jonas Folger has been announced as Pol Espargaro’s MotoGP fill-in by the GasGas Factory Racing Tech3 team.

Following Pol Espargaro’s crash in practice at the 2023 MotoGP season-opening Portuguese Grand Prix, it became clear that the #44 would be out of action for a while, thanks to a broken dorsal vertebrae, a broken jaw, and a pulmonary contusion. 

In the FIM regulations for the MotoGP World Championship, it is stated that teams have a period of 10 days in which to find a replacement for any full-time rider who is injured and unable to compete as a result. 

Being owned by KTM, GasGas has the Austrian marque’s selection of test riders to call on to replace Espargaro. Any one of Dani Pedrosa, Mika Kallio, and Jonas Folger was theoretically a possibility. 

It has been confirmed that the choice has been made in favour of Jonas Folger, whose sole MotoGP season came in 2017 with the Tech 3 team when it was running Yamaha machinery. Folger’s best finish came at the German Grand Prix of that year, when he finished second to Marc Marquez. 

The #94 joined the KTM testing programme over the winter between the end of the 2022 season and the beginning of the 2023 campaign, and thus has limited experience of the KTM RC16 prototype.

With the quick one-week turnaround between the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, and the second round of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship, the Argentinian Grand Prix, at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, Folger’s first Grand Prix in the red of GasGas will not come until round three, the Grand Prix of the Americas, held at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Jonas Folger said: “First of all I really hope Pol is doing well and getting back on his feet as soon as possible. I’m sure he has the right people around him. From my side I’m looking forward to racing again and arriving to Texas to see all the guys from my old team.

I hope we can do a decent job and I know it will be a big challenge for me since testing has only just started. However, this will be a great opportunity to get up to speed and learn more about the bike. I’m thankful and now looking to Texas.”

Nicolas Goyon, GasGas Tech3  Factory Racing Team Manager, said: “It’s clear Pol needs time to make a full recovery and our thoughts are still with him and we are in contact all the time. Until he is ready though Jonas’ testing role together with his recent MotoGP experience meant he is the perfect fill-in. 

“We had some good memories with him a few years ago and he tested with us in Sepang this pre-season. He’s a great guy and we’re delighted to welcome him back.”

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