Jonas Folger has been forced to pull out of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, and may be absent for the remainder of the overseas triple-header as well.
The German has been taken ill with what could potentially be a recurrence of the Epstein-Bar Virus, which he suffered from previously. Japanese test rider Kohta Nozane is to replace him in the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 team for the Motegi round at least.
Folger took ill on his travels to Japan, suffering from a complete lack of energy, forcing him to miss a number of official Yamaha events. He had hoped that some rest would mean he was strong enough to race at Motegi, but rest has not helped.
After consultation with Dr. Charte, the medical officer for MotoGP, the decision was taken to fly back to Germany for further tests to try to pin down the cause of Folger’s problems.
The first check to be carried out will be for Epstein Barr, which Folger has had previously, and which can flare up again in some rare cases. The Tech 3 team was lucky in some respects that Folger was taken ill at Motegi.
Yamaha’s young Japanese test rider Kohta Nozane was going to be present at the Japanese round of MotoGP anyway, and this presents a perfect opportunity for him to get some time on a MotoGP bike on a race weekend. Nozane is already familiar with the bike, having tested it at Sepang earlier this year.
Whether Nozane will continue on the bike, if Folger is not fit enough to return at Phillip Island, remains to be seen. The next round of the All-Japan Superbike championship is not until 5th November, meaning that Nozane will be free for both Phillip Island and Sepang.
Yamaha’s WorldSBK riders Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark will be busy next weekend, racing at the penultimate round of the WorldSBK championship in Jerez, which clashes with Phillip Island.
“I came to Japan and was motivated for these three flyaway races, but I’ve been feeling really weak since the Misano and Aragon rounds,” said Folger, in the Tech 3 press release.
“On arrival here, I have been struggling with my energy levels, even leaving the hotel room was impossible for me, and unfortunately, I had to miss some Yamaha events, which I’m very sorry for.”
“I met with Hervé on Wednesday night and we agreed to go for a check with the doctors this morning. I met with Dr. Charte and the Clinica Mobile team and they have advised me to return to Germany right away for a series of blood tests.”
“I’ve had Epstein Barr virus in the past and it’s a possibility that this has flared up again and resurfaced, but we can’t be sure until I’ve had these tests in Munich.”
“I’m really sorry for my whole team and Yamaha at their home race and would like to thank them for all their support. Also sorry to my personal sponsors, I appreciate them all standing by me at this difficult time. Now we must remain positive and aim to come back stronger,” concluded the German rider.
Source: Monster Yamaha Tech 3; Photo: Monster Yamaha Tech 3
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.