Folger, Bonovo BMW to miss final two WSBK rounds

BMW’s satellite outfit MGM Bonovo will skip World Superbike’s flyaway races in Argentina and Indonesia, making this weekend’s Portimao round its final appearance of the season.

Bonovo joined BMW’s fold in 2021 after two wildcard outings last year on a Yamaha R1, as the German manufacturer expanded beyond its two factory bikes to take on its more successful Japanese rivals.

However, the outfit’s first full season in WSBK has proven anything but successful, with sole rider Jonas Folger struggling to adapt to the M1000RR after years riding Yamaha machinery in a variety of championships.

Bonovo team boss Michael Galinski had already announced that it won't continue with Folger next year, and the news about the squad curtailing its campaign marks an early end to their relationship in WSBK.

“Against the backdrop of the corona situation MGM Bonovo is foregoing the overseas races in Argentina and Indonesia for safety reasons,” read a statement from the team.

Ex-MotoGP rider Folger, who won the German-based IDM series with Bonovo aboard a Yamaha R1 last year, has yet to ride on the Portuguese circuit that is increasingly becoming a popular destination for both two-wheel and four-wheel championships.

"I only know Portimao from race footage and video games so far,” he said. “This track is super challenging.

“But I'm looking forward to the challenge and I also hope that we can take some of the momentum we got in the Jerez races with us. Last Sunday things went very well, especially towards the end of the race, as the feeling for the bike is gradually coming back.

"Unfortunately our season ends this weekend because we are not going overseas. So I hope, and I will give everything from my side, that it will be a conciliatory ending.”

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When Galinski revealed that Bonovo would part ways with Folger in WSBK after 2021, he left the door open for the German rider to compete in another championship with the outfit.

Folger said he has yet to firm up his plans for next year, but regrets that the all-German partnership with Bonovo didn’t yield the kind of results he was hoping for.

"I can't say much about it yet,” he said when asked about his future beyond 2021. “I don't have any concrete plans and I don't have much choice. I'm not going to ride in a team where I don't earn money. I just won't do that. The situation is similar to Sandro [Cortese, currently on the sidelines].

"I could of course keep riding for Michael [Galinski] and with my team [in another series]. I am super happy about that. We are close friends. We also have a lot of fun. 

“But it is just difficult. Neither of us can cope with another year like this. That's why we decided that I won't continue with BMW, even though I would have liked it to gel better, of course.

"I think it's a big shame because it was a cool thing at the beginning. It just fit: German manufacturer, German team and me as a German rider. I was really looking forward to the project. But after this difficult season it's best for both sides to make a change."

One possibility for Folger would be to step down to the World Supersport category, which is set for a major overhaul next year with the introduction of higher engine capacity bikes.

However, the 28-year-old wasn’t too enthused about that option, saying: "The subject has been raised and it's not off the table yet. But I can't really see myself changing my riding style again.

"I would have to test intensively and change. I want to ride the way I naturally do and that's possible on a different bike.

"I don't know yet what the final outcome will be, whether it's long distance [FIM EWC] or if something will come up in this paddock with another manufacturer. I can't say much about it yet."

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