Monster Yamaha Tech 3 fear that Jonas Folger could be out for the remainder of the MotoGP season, as team boss Herve Poncharal considers a local replacement for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix.

Folger returned home to Germany for medical tests on the eve of this weekend's Japanese MotoGP. The rookie is suffering from severe fatigue, prompting concerns from doctors that he may have a recurrence of Epstein Barr virus.

"The only news I have is that we've received a long email from Mark Cavendish," Poncharal told, referring to the cycling star (and MotoGP fan) who was diagnosed with Epstein Barr earlier this year.

"[Cavendish] said 'do nothing, not even a PlayStation and it's going to take a while'. For him, it was three months.

"Clearly these three flyaway races are finished for Jonas. Valencia would be a dream. At the moment I would say it is very unlikely."

Yamaha test rider Kohta Nozane was called up at the last minute to replace Folger in Japan but, after an impressive opening day, broke his hand in a Saturday highside. Nozane raced on Sunday with the aid of anaesthetic, but fell early on.

"It's a pity for Nozane because he showed good potential. One mistake and he paid a high price. Today was almost mission impossible, but he wanted to try. His right hand was broken and this is such a hard-braking circuit."

Who will be on Folger's bike at Phillip Island on Friday?

"All I can tell you is that we will have someone on the bike and that he might be a 'down under' guy..."

The hot rumour is that former PBM MotoGP racer Broc Parkes, who now competes for Yamaha in the Endurance World Championship, will get the Tech 3 chance. Phillip Island clashes with the Jerez WorldSBK round, ruling out any competitors from that championship.

Meanwhile Folger's team-mate and fellow rookie Johann Zarco had qualified on pole at Motegi, before dropping to eighth in the race, but was still the top Yamaha rider.

"It was a positive weekend because when you do a pole position in Japan, that means something and we were really pleased last night," Poncharal said.

"We knew with a lot of standing water it would not be very easy for us in the race, especially because the Italian bikes would be fast in those conditions. Unfortunately it rained a lot and Johann couldn't do anything to stay with the top three, but he was holding fourth quite well until five laps to go.

"Suddenly his pace dropped dramatically. I checked and with Vinales it was exactly the same. So the last five laps were bad for us because we had zero traction, the tyre was destroyed.

"It's a pity. Because when you have been holding fourth for 80% of the race and then lose four positions in four laps... At the end of the day we finished first Yamaha, but we want to finish as first Yamaha and on the podium.

"Johann did a strong weekend, with no mistakes, so we learned a lot and hopefully the Yamaha engineers gathered lots of data from the four bikes that they can overlay and compare."

Zarco will go into the final three rounds holding sixth in the world championship, with a 14-point advantage over Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci and 33-point lead over LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow in their battle to be the top Independent rider.

"Johann lost some points to Petrucci, but gained on Cal. Those three are fighting to be top Independent rider. If we can finish the season as top Rookie and best Independent rider with Johann, it would be a dream."

With Folger injured, Zarco is effectively assured of the top Rookie title since Suzuki's Alex Rins is now mathematically unable to catch the Frenchman.



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