In 2021 Jonas Folger will be a Superbike rider, competing for team Bonovo MGM Racing after winning last year’s German championship. And after completing some positive WorldSBK races as a wildcard. The 27-year old, a former MotoGP rider, will be riding a BMW and, with no team-mates, he tells the worldsbk.com website: “My main rivals – or rather the riders I really have to beat - are the factory BMW guys!”
His MotoGP past
Folger's world championship career began in 2008, in the 125 class, and he moved to the reigning class in 2017, before pulling out the following year due to health problems. In the top class he rode the Tech3 Yamaha: “Two very different bikes, even if both are competitive. I’m surprised by the BMW and know how much potential it has”. His move has been fairly easy he admits, adding: “I’m absolutely convinced that the bike suits me and I can’t wait to exploit and develop its potential”.
The new experience
The German thus returns to the world stage: “Being a rookie again is so exciting. It’s a new category for me and I already had a lot of fun as a wildcard, when I was able to get a taste of this class”. And it was love at first sight: “I quickly realised that this was a category I wanted to race in, I think it’s great. A great paddock, a relaxed atmosphere. All this makes a big difference”.
"We are rookies"
But the fans will be sorely lacking: “Unfortunately there won’t be any spectators yet and so I’m missing out on the ‘normal’ Superbike context. But I know I’ve made the right choice in coming to WorldSBK”. And people are very interested to see what he can do: “There are expectations, but the team and I are rookies. Our aim is the top ten and I think that’s doable. I don’t think I have a lot of pressure on me, unlike the factory riders, Michael van der Mark and Tom Sykes”.
Translated by Heather Watson