WSB: Jonas Folger set for World Superbike debut with Barcelona wildcard

Jonas Folger will make his World Superbike Championship debut at the inaugural Catalunya round in Barcelona next month.

The German will compete on a privateer Yamaha YZF-R1 for the Team Benovo Action by MGM Racing squad. Folger made his superbike debut in the German IDM series at Assen last weekend, securing a double win in an impressive debut.

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“I am really happy to make my debut in World Superbike,” Folger told the official WSB website. “It’s a very interesting class and I really like to ride the 1000cc motorcycles. With many riders already in this category that I have been racing in the past, the level is really high in WorldSBK. After such a long time not racing in the World Championship, I’m really looking forward to it!

“I won the two races at Assen during the first round of the German Championship. But WorldSBK is a World Championship, so you can’t compare the two – also, the bikes are different. I will also be a wildcard, so I hope I can have a good bike for that. This is one of the most important things, in order to be on more-or-less the same level as the rest of the field. I hope then that I will be able to do a good race; that is really important to me because I want to show people that I am still fast and able to come back to World Superbike.”

The 27-year-old is looking for a full-time return to World Championship competition in 2021 following his departure from Yamaha’s MotoGP project. Folger had made it into MotoGP with the Tech3 Yamaha team, finishing second at the Sachsenring, but was forced to step aside after being diagnosed with Gilbert’s syndrome. He was later hired as Yamaha’s European test rider but was removed from that role after only a handful of appearances. 

Folger had five wildcards in Moto2 last season, for the Petronas Sprinta team, but could only manage a best result of 17th. 

“I’ve been away from the World Championships for quite some time now, but I am back because I decided to come back. I decided because I feel good; I’ve done some things in the last few years and it was a long process, but it will be a challenge just like everything in life.

“I’ve had some wildcards in Moto2, but I wasn’t feeling great in the smaller categories. I knew that if I want to come back to racing in any category, then I need to come back and race a 1000cc bike and a Superbike, as that is what I can do well. I am really looking forward to it and excited about this new chapter; there’s a new goal in my life that I want to achieve, and that’s what I’m working towards.”

Previously, Folger had been named as a wildcard for the WSB rounds at Assen and Oschersleben. However, both events were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Catalan round of the 2020 WSB season is scheduled to take place on September 18-20.