Moto2 front-runner Jonas Folger will step up to the MotoGP championship for 2017, as he joins satellite team Monster Tech 3 Yamaha to replace the departing Bradley Smith.
And, with the speculated-at news coming the Monster-sponsored round of the series and in front of a home crowd for the team, the 22-year-old was left almost lost for words.
“I am super excited about the news and I still can’t believe this is happening. I have been racing for years in the motorcycling World Championship and to make the move up to the premier class is a dream come true plus I'd like to thank all my sponsors that have stuck by me all these years. Furthermore, it’s an honour to make this step with Yamaha, Hervé Poncharal and Tech3 team who have such a long and deep history in the paddock.
"I will try my absolute best to repay the faith the team has put in me, and I’m really looking forward to the new adventure. However, I will remain completely focused for the rest of the year in the intermediate class but I can’t wait for Valencia where I will sample the Yamaha YZR-M1 for the first time.”
The German has been a well-known favourite of team boss Herve Poncheral for a while, however, and the highly experienced team manager says the tough decision makes sense for the squad.
“It’s always a very important and tough decision to make when it’s time for us to choose a young rider to start his career in the MotoGP class. We have been thinking a lot about who has the best profile to replace Brad, who has done a great job with Tech3 for four years and is now ready to move to a full factory team. Having thoroughly checked all the names and details of the young riders in various championships, the name Jonas Folger came out on top.
"He’s a nice person, very fast and he is going to have a strong season in Moto2 this year, where he hopefully will win the title which would be the dream situation. I am really pleased to announce that Jonas will join us before our home GP in Le Mans. It may be difficult to predict what will happen, as some riders adapt instantly whilst others need some time, but I am certain that he will be fast, have fun and become a strong Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider.
"I’d like to welcome him and I want to assure Jonas that the whole team and Yamaha Factory Racing are very happy that he will join us and for sure, everyone will do their best to assist him in moving forward in the top class.”