Ex-MotoGP rider Jonas Folger won’t complete rookie WorldSBK season

Jonas Folger calls time on his 2021 WorldSBK endeavour amid disappointing results on the satellite Bonovo MGM BMW; Team to skip final rounds

Jonas Folger - Bonovo MGM BMW

Former MotoGP rider Jonas Folger has confirmed he won’t see out his maiden WorldSBK Championship season after disappointing results brought about an early end to his time in the series.

The German - who competed with Tech 3 Yamaha for much of the 2017 MotoGP season before illness curtailed his involvement - made his return to the international stage this season as part of the same Bonovo MGM team with which he swept to the German-based IDM Superbike title in 2020.

However, the switch to BMW machinery would prove problematic with Folger struggling to muster results beyond the mid-pack at best, even if he did see a potential season’s best run to the top six at Assen scuppered by a crash on the penultimate lap.

With the team also said to be suffering from a lack of new parts filtering down from the factory team for use on the developing BMW M 1000 RR, Folger has opted to stop before the final two events in Argentina and Indonesia.

"I have mixed emotions. On the one hand I am sad to leave the team, but on the other, I am a bit relieved that this difficult year is over. We had another difficult race at our finale and, unfortunately, nothing improved again. 

“I really had problems in the middle of the corner and at the exit of the corner. I could not slide the BMW cleanly out of the corners but had rather aggressive sliding. I couldn't ride like that. I tried it and played with the traction, but that only made it worse. Then I just finished like that. 

“I would like to thank my whole team, of course. We entered WorldSBK together this year. We had a lot of joy together, but also shared sorrow. I will definitely remember the beautiful moments, having taken everyone here to my heart.”

What next for Jonas Folger as BMW WorldSBK loses another team

It’s been a troubled few years for Folger, ever since he contracted the debilitating Epstein Barr virus, which forced him out of action just as he was hitting his stride in MotoGP.

With his emotional maiden MotoGP podium on home soil at the Sachsenring a distant memory, Folger didn’t return to the track until 2019 with a handful of modest Moto2 outings, before a return to full-time competition in 2020 delivered success that appeared to make him a natural choice for WorldSBK.

However, that was achieved on Yamaha machinery and with Bonovo MGM sticking with BMW for the time being, there have been no 2022 WorldSBK offers forthcoming for Folger. Instead, it is likely he will attempt to regroup with a move into the WorldSSP Championship next year.

On the weekend BMW celebrated its first WorldSBK win in eight years courtesy of a wet weather masterclass by Michael van der Mark, it also saw the second of its two new satellite teams announce a premature end to the season.

It comes after RC Squadra Corse withdrew after just four rounds claiming to be undergoing a management restructure, but it hasn’t been seen since, leaving Eugene Laverty without a ride.

As such, Bonovo MGM is set to expand to two M 1000 RRs, though its first choice of Tom Sykes seems unlikely to make the switch amid talk he is BSB bound with VisionTrack Ducati.