Jonas Folger set for Yamaha test team debut at Valencia

'After this long time off from racing, I’m thrilled to be back in the paddock' - Jonas Folger.
Jonas Folger set for Yamaha test team debut at Valencia

Jonas Folger will make his debut as an Yamaha MotoGP test rider at Valencia this week.

The young German - who took a podium during his rookie 2017 MotoGP season with Tech3, before withdrawing due to illness - has been signed for the factory's new European test team, created to try and close the performance gap to rivals Ducati and Honda.

"After this long time off from racing, I’m thrilled to be back in the paddock," said Folger,who has been helping Kalex with some Moto2 testing this year. "It’s incredibly nice to see all my friends and lots of familiar faces again. It was very emotional for me to come to Valencia. At the same time, I’m already looking forward to starting my new tasks, which will begin next week at this track where I did my debut ride in MotoGP two years ago.

"Though the test begins tomorrow, my job already starts today, but it will only consist of ‘dry exercises’, so to speak: I will try on my new leathers before the first runs to check if the seating position is OK aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. Then there will also be a photo shoot with my completely new equipment, followed by several technical meetings. But above all, I’m very excited to start our new testing programme on Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m very proud to be part of this all-new project.

"It is the very first time that Yamaha will set up a test team based in Europe. I think that a lot of work is ahead of me, because of the past year of the factory team. It’s no secret that Valentino and Maverick put a lot of pressure and importance on this project. Therefore, it’s a great honour for me and I’m so excited about this challenge and I can hardly wait to swing my leg over the Yamaha YZR-M1 again and to enjoy this awesome riding experience aboard a MotoGP machine.

"The YZR-M1 has impressed me from the very first moment when I first rode it in 2016, and I look forward to riding it again on Tuesday. Hopefully the weather will cooperate in the next couple of days. But before we start, I would like to express my thanks to Yamaha and all people involved for giving me this opportunity and placing their trust in me."

Yamaha Racing manging director Lin Jarvis said: "It is no secret that Yamaha has had a challenging season in 2018. Though we made progress towards the end, we are convinced that the extra support from a European test team will be greatly beneficial to the development process of the YZR-M1.

"Jonas Folger will be Yamaha's new European MotoGP test rider and he will start his duties here in Valencia during the official IRTA Test. We are very pleased to welcome him back to Yamaha‘s MotoGP programme.

"Jonas showed great skill and excellent speed when he was a Yamaha satellite rider in 2017. His past experience with the YZR-M1, as well as his youth and drive, will surely make him a great asset to our 2019 campaign.

"We look forward to having him working closely with our four MotoGP-class riders and our development engineers to further improve the YZR-M1."

The new Sepang International Circuit Racing Team, which is taking over from Tech3 as Yamaha's new satellite team, will also be on track for the first time at the Valencia post-race test, held on Tuesday and Wednesday.