Jonas Folger has announced he’s been dropped by Yamaha from his MotoGP test rider role for 2020.

The German rider has acted as Yamaha’s European-based test rider this year as part of his return to racing after leaving the Tech3 Yamaha team towards the end of 2017 due to an ongoing illness battle.

Having expected to be retained by the Iwata factory, Folger has confirmed he’s been axed at Yamaha despite having a “verbal agreement” to continue in the same role for 2020.

Folger also says Yamaha has decided to run its 2020 test plans “exclusively by Japanese riders”, despite rumours around Johann Zarco joining as a test rider, while Valentino Rossi’s outgoing crew chief Silvano Galbusera had been set to head up the engineering team of Yamaha’s European-based test squad.

“This bad news has come as a surprise for me. I had the verbal agreement that Yamaha wants to continue with me and even expand this project,” Folger said on his website. “We were already talking about what the test plan and other missions might look like.

“But then suddenly came the rejection, although I was promised that I should soon receive the contract. But it was decided that their test programme should again be carried out exclusively by Japanese riders. So I was stopped for a long time.”

Folger is now assessing his future with limited 2020 options as most deals are already completed in preparation for next year. In the German’s statement, he reveals he has already turned down 2020 offers from Moto2 and World Superbike teams having preferred to stay in the Yamaha fold. The 26-year-old made five starts as stand-in rider for Petronas Sprinta Racing in Moto2 this year.

“The disappointment is great, of course, because I stiffened completely on this project and cancelled all other options for next year,” he said.

“Too bad, it would have been a very interesting challenge and at the same time a versatile task which I would have been very happy.

“In the role of the test driver I’ve also learned a lot so far. But at the moment I do not know how to continue my career. There are not many reasonable options at this late stage.”

According to recent reports Yamaha is assessing its options before confirming its plans for its European-based test team.

While Zarco remains linked to the role despite turning it down with a preference of finding a race seat for 2020, ex-Yamaha rider Bradley Smith has also been connected to the position. The British rider is currently Aprilia’s test rider, dovetailing the role with racing in MotoE for the Sepang Racing Team-run squad, and has links to Yamaha through Sepang which runs the satellite Yamaha MotoGP team.

 

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