Rare illness sees Folger pull out of MotoGP season

Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Jonas Folger has pulled out of the 2018 MotoGP season due to an ongoing illness.

The highly rated German rider missed the last four races of his rookie season after being diagnosed with Gilbert’s syndrome, a rare liver disorder.

Folger, 24, had hoped to recover in time for the new season, but had to admit defeat just a week before the start of this year’s first official test.

“I’m incredibly sad to be saying this, but I will not be racing MotoGP in 2018,” he said.

“I wasn’t able to make the improvements I was hoping for, and at this stage I don’t feel able to ride a MotoGP machine at 100 percent.

“I hope to be back one day and want to thank you all for your ongoing support.”

Folger debuted in MotoGP last year and was scored points regularly before a earning runners-up finish to world champion Marc Marquez in July’s German Grand Prix.

He was left bedridden ahead of October’s Japanese Grand Prix and returned to Germany for medical tests before being diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 are now busy seeking a replacement.

“It is still very difficult for me to believe, that he’s not going to race with us in 2018,” said team manager Herve Poncharal.

“I completely respect his decision, although it’s hard to swallow. Yet, I will try to find a solution for a replacement rider, which is a very difficult mission, as all of the fast riders are already contracted.”