Tech 3 Yamaha has confirmed the signing of Moto2 race winner Jonas Folger for the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.
The 22-year-old has secured a one-year deal which also includes the option for an additional season. The German is thus set to take the place of KTM-bound Bradley Smith, although team-mate Pol Espargaro remains unsigned for 2017.
Folger is relishing the opportunity of his premier class debut and is thrilled to secure a prestigious team for his rookie MotoGP season.
“I am super excited about the news and I still can't believe this is happening,” Folger said. “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 Tech 3 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.”
Tech 3 team boss Herve Poncharal says Folger's name came out on top of a long list which he assessed to find a suitable replacement for Smith and welcomes the young German with open arms by declaring his full faith in Folger to adapt quickly to the premier class.
“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,” Poncharal said. “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.”
Folger, who currently sits fifth in the Moto2 world championship with two podiums in 2016, will complete this season with Dynavolt Intact GP on Kalex machinery before his maiden outing on the Yamaha M1 at the post-season finale Valencia test in November.