Ex-MotoGP rider Jonas Folger to make WorldSBK debut in 2020

Former Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP rider and podium winner Jonas Folger will make his WorldSBK debut in 2020 after securing IDM Superbike Yamaha deal

Jonas Folger

Jonas Folger will start at least three rounds of the 2020 WorldSBK Championship as part of a new deal that will see him compete full-time in the German-based IDM Superbike series.

The German raced in MotoGP with Tech 3 Yamaha through 2017 but was forced onto the sidelines for the entirety of the 2018 season after contracting Gilbert’s Syndrome, an illness that saps energy and causes fatigue.

Having returned to some racing action with a handful of Moto2 outings this year, Folger had expected to reprise his ongoing role as Yamaha MotoGP test rider only to be told the agreement had been terminated.

With no Moto2 rides immediately available, Folger was enticed by a deal to race in the WorldSSP series with the Kiefer Racing team, only to decide on a Superbike future instead by joining MGM Racing, which runs Yamaha Germany’s team in the IDM.

The move will see him compete in at least three 2020 WorldSBK events at Assen, Oschersleben and Barcelona.

“After some turbulent last months and weeks, I finally decided to start together with Michael Galinski in the German Championship (IDM), I think, this is a great new beginning for me and at the same time an interesting change of surroundings.

“I aim to start at zero again, gain confidence, collect good memories again and enter a new path, which should lead to the Superbike World Championship long-term.

“I already know the R1, even if the Superbike IDM version will be a bit different than the machine I was riding so far. I know the strengths of the Yamaha and I’m convinced that it’s an absolute competitive bike to attack fully in this championship!”

Jonas Folger targets full-time 2021 WorldSBK entry

No doubt taking inspiration from a certain Scott Redding, who has revived his international racing career after going down the national Superbike route from MotoGP, Folger clearly has designs on making WorldSBK his home.

However, as a rider who has been largely out of action for the last two years, he needs to return to strength on his own terms, so a berth in the comparatively low-key IDM Superbike series is logical.

Even so, with no German riders confirmed to the 2020 WorldSBK grid in the year the nation returns to the calendar (though Sandro Cortese is linked to a second Ten Kate Yamaha ride), Folger’s involvement will be seen as a big boost for Dorna to shift some tickets…

“Of course, with the target to win the Championship and to do several wildcards in the World Superbike in order to prepare a permanent WorldSBK start for the following year.”