With the shock news of Jonas Folger opting to sit out of the 2018 MotoGP season for Monster Yamaha Tech3 due to illness it leaves a huge opportunity for a rider to step-in at the satellite Yamaha squad.

In November Folger had been diagnosed with 'Gilbert Syndrome' and put on a special diet, with the young German pledging to make a comeback in 2018 after missing the final four rounds of his rookie MotoGP season.

But in a dramatic twist, Folger’s manager Bob Moore made a call to Tech3 boss Herve Poncharal on Tuesday night to say the German rider wouldn’t be able to contest the 2018 MotoGP season as he focused on his health and recovery.

As a result, Poncharal has just weeks to fill a race seat next to Johann Zarco at the Tech3 squad, with the first official MotoGP test in Sepang only 10 days away, with the majority of likely candidates already signed up on race contracts for the upcoming season.

Therefore the option to replace Folger is wide open with a huge number of potential candidates.

Yamaha could shuffle its current rider pack to see Michael van der Mark or Alex Lowes switch from World Superbikes to MotoGP having both acted as replacement riders in recent seasons but would need to release them from their existing contracts.

Elsewhere one of the biggest unsigned names (at least officially) is 2014 World Superbike champion Sylvain Guintoli but he currently has links to the factory Suzuki squad or could Yamaha look further afield to MotoAmerica?

Who do you think should replace Folger at Tech3 for the 2018 MotoGP season?

Crash will be running Forum debates every day during the winter in preparation for the 2018 season debating a range of topics and issues – but you can submit your own ideas here.


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The question is who can replace Folger. Not everyone can get out of a contract with their team and sponsors so close to the start of the season. I don't think there are that many options, but hopefully Herve can find someone fast or it will be a waste of a good bike for the year.

Answered today - "Yonny Hernandez set to replace Jonas Folger at first MotoGP test"

I thought the other news thread was the debate already but here goes a condensed list and justification. Each rider is subject to what their contracts are and some may have GP ride clause. So it is not as much as "who should" but "who could" list.

#1: Baz. The safe option. Young but experienced. He could turn his career around and would be a conservative move from Herve.

#2: Rea. Maybe his last real chance to get to MotoGP. He is not getting any closer to factory Yam, Duc, Honda than the Tech 3. The other 3 factories, maybe, but Tech 3 is fast. As a Kawa man he is not aligned with any team so a jump to the 3 big factory teams seems very unlikely. Too old to re-align with Honda, Yamaha or Ducati at WSBK level and enter that way, things need to happen faster for him. But nobody will blame him if he stays in WSBK.

#3: Kallio. He wants a full time ride. However, if both he and KTM pick up speed and particularly if Smith struggles, he would throw away a winning hand. The Tech 3 is a dead end for him career-wise. Also Kallio is a long term KTM man.

#4: Van der Mark. The main question is who to replace him in WSBK. Team alignment exists.

#5: Bradl. He has the experience. Could also re-surge his career by performing well.

Then there's the rookies and I won't speculate with them, but the chance of seeing a Ben Spies MotoGP comeback I assess to be about the same as Troy Bayliss making a MotoGP comeback.

I agree with Bradl, German for a German...  it almost seems like fate.

Troy Bayliss. See how he goes in the opener at PI, and if he still has it, sign him.

REA should't switch to MOTOGP...He got very rare oppartunitie to create history in Wsbk...So let him enjoy dominance rather than fighting in mid-field...Baz will be better, But he already signed for BMW which will run only one rider...Better options are from moto2...Why not Pacini ???

Given the level of doinance of the Kawasaki WSB team, there's a lack of credibility leaking into JR's string of championships.

This might just be right for him, as he is percieved as the best outside MotoGP, so this might be the chance to challenge himself. I really hope that happens.

It is a bike cabable to win. A lot of interest for sure. But despite the fact that Tech 3 needs a rider quickly, they also must think about longevity. It is quite unsure whether Folger will come back after that announcement.

I do not know contract situation when writing this. But Franco Morbidelli comes first into my mind.


I am a Finn, so I'd love to see Mika Kallio there. But I am quite sure KTM contract is solid. And he is not a young gun that Tech 3 would need in this situation. Fingers crossed though!

Alex Marquez... never gonna happen but the entertainment value would be off the scale!

One rider I really rate and would love to see in GP is Xavi Vierge, probably a bit soon for him though