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Interview: Pauls Jonass

It has been a rough year for Pauls Jonass. After only two Grand Prix the former MX2 world champion was sidelined after big crash during lockdown that ended his season and the friendly Latvian only got back on the bike mid-way through November after a long five month lay-off.

But with a Gas Gas contract in his pocket, the always positive Pauls is now looking ahead and ready to get the 2021 season underway to show what he can do on the 450 – and won’t even be going back to Latvia for Christmas! We caught up with the new factory Gas Gas rider to discuss his season, the injury and his hopes for 2021.

You started the season off just outside the top ten in the first two very competitive GPs, how did you feel your riding was at that point?

The results not even close to what I was expecting at the beginning of the season. It was there I just had bad luck and crashes which cost a lot. I was feeling really good coming into the season but after two GPs I was injured and couldn’t really show what I was capable of.

At the time when the injury came I was in the best shape and the best I had been feeling on the 450. I really put in a lot of hard work during the corona time. I went back to Latvia and I could riding and do all the training that was necessary and really work hard to be ready for the season starting again but then I crashed and the season was over.

So what happened with the crash? You had a lot of injuries and it ultimately ended your season.

It happened on a jump, I don’t remember exactly how I crashed or what happened! It was a big crash – two broken ribs, fractures on four vertabrae, then the ligament on the back was broken plus six spinous processes. It was a lot of injuries but luckily I didn’t have to do surgery but I had to wear a neck brace for quite a long time for recovery. Now, at the moment, back riding, I am feeling 100%.

The recovery, was it mentally and physically hard to deal with that? And how was it to sit on the sidelines and miss the whole season and go through the rehab?

It was really tough overall. I was feeling really great and also it was a contract year and with the first races not being great I had to show some good results then obviously the injury came. Everything fell together as bad as it could happen, for sure it was tough mentally. At one point when I put everything into place and I got the deal for 2021, I knew the season was over already so I could focus on 2021 and everything was getting easier and I could start to focus on the future.

As you said signing for Gas Gas has given you a lot of hope and motivation, you are back ont he bike now so are you feeling rusty at all or are you getting into your groove already?

I have been back riding nearly a month. I was actually surprised at how good I was feeling the first time I got back on a bike. I was off for five months and straight away it went quite good. I was feeling good, at some points I was worried about I was gong to feel with the back and everything, but I really put in a lot of work in rehab, I worked hard with the physio therapists and the body was in good shape for when I went back on the bike. I didn’t want to rush because when you rush the next injury comes and it gets even worse.

I was already in a pretty good shape when I came back on the bike but I was pretty surprised how good it went from the first time but now I am still taking it quite easy on the bike. I am trying to get in a flow and doing longer and longer motos. I can already do 3x 30 minutes which is pretty good, of course it’s not pushing and not race speed but like I said there’s a long time until the season starts to get back to the speed. I am feeling good on the bike and overall I’m happy with the situation and where I am at.

The Standing Construct team has a good repuation of getting the maxiumum out of the riders, Coldenhoff has done fantastic there and you are essentially replacing him so are you ecxicted to see what your limit is in the MXGP class as well as representing a new brand with Gas Gas?

For sure, it is quite exciting! It’s something special for me because I have been on all three brands from the KTM group which is quite special! Overall like you said they had some really good results with Glenn and and also the other riders they have made a good improvement with in the past. So far we have been working one month and I am really happy with how the team works and all the crew who are there, all the staff and the team owner. I am really happy and I think we can achieve some good results.

With the season not starting to April are you having to hold yourself back from doing too much at the minute? To keep everything going slowly instead of getting ahead of yourself with the injury and testing. I am sure you are really keen to get going again!

Yeah for sure, it is actually tough to slow myself down! Because training I feel it is going to fast at the moment and I haven’t been riding so much but I know I can go faster but I just try to calm myself down. Like you said the season doesn’t start until April which is later than normal so it’s still some time away and it’s not so easy to take it easy! Somehow I have managed to switch off my mind from let’s say “racing mode” and go more into “training mode.” It’s good, I am really enjoying riding at the moment, injury sucks of course but it’s always nice to get back on the bike because you are so excited and you are really enjoying every time you go riding.

On injuries, there was a lot of them overall in MXGP this year, what are you thoughts on that? Are there reason for it or has it just been a bit of an unlucky season?

I don’t know, it’s hard to say the reason. I think the class is so competitive that everyone is going so fast that you need too.. you cannot go at 98% you need to go at 100% to be up front. Everyone is so close together. I think it is also just a bit of an unlucky season because in 2015 many good guys were out so it happens sometimes. There is betters seasons and worse season for injuries but that is motocross and the injuries will come, you cannot go without it but it’s a pity because there were many hard injuries this year and it’s never nice to see guys get hurt.

The one day format, or the two days – what do you prefer?

I didn’t race any of the one day format but I think overall it’s not bad, first day the European and the second day is MXGP and MX2. I think it’s good for everyone, the EMX guys have a flatter track and the MXGP guys have a rougher track. I think it’s not bad but I cannot say for sure I would have to try a few to tell the difference but from the sidelines as a spectator I liked the format.

Moving into 2021, there are a couple of guys who have retired from MXGP, but you have Thomas Kjer Olsen and Ben Watson moving in. What are your goals having essentially missed a full season?

The main goal is to go injury free and have a consistent season. We have have seen in past years and also this season, it’s not always the fastest guy that wins. many times it’s better to go slower and be consistent and not get hurt. In MXGP you need to be consistent but also of course fast because without the speed you cannot get a good result or win the title.

You were world champion for course in MX2. Do you still remember that feeling of being world champion and is it still a motivating factor for you in the MXGP class?

Of course, that feeling – it’s impossible to forget! That was one of the best days of my life when I won it and still look at the videos and pictures on my phone of the celebrations that gives me motivation. For almost everyone on the gate the big goal is to win but at the moment I just want to take it step by step and the first goal is to be consistent and go injury free.

In Latvia, with your world championship, motocross seems to be doing well there, has your success brought a lot of spotlight to the sport?

Yeah, the media is following MXGP more, now you can see they are showing MXGP live on two TV channels which is goof in my opinion and that has brought interest from the side and they are now showing the Latvian championship races on TV which is pretty cool. I think overall it will help to grow the sport, maybe not in the next year but the near future for sure.

Jonass and Bogers sign for Standing Construct Gas Gas in 2021!

GASGAS Motorcycles have secured the signatures of yet more exciting racers ahead of the 2021 MXGP season! Hard-charging former MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass teams up with the highly-capable Brian Bogers to complete Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing’s all-new MXGP rider line-up! With his all-action riding style, Pauls will be the perfect match for the awesome MC 450F as the Latvian looks forward to re-establishing himself as one of the world’s best. Delivering a strong run of results during 2020, Dutchman Bogers is ready to mix it up with the heavy hitters of the MXGP class.

  • Former MX2 champ Pauls Jonass leads GASGAS’ MXGP class assault
  • All-new rider line-up for Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing
  • Brian Bogers set to deliver the goods in 2021 aboard GASGAS MC 450F

A proven MXGP racer, Jonass entered the grand prix scene in 2014, rapidly progressing to become MX2 World Champion just three years later. Placing as runner-up in 2018, the Latvian then moved to the MXGP class for the following season. In his debut 450cc campaign he was quick to find success, securing three overall podium visits and an impressive sixth place in the final standings.

2020 was set to be Jonass’ breakout year but an untimely training crash ended his season early. Following months of rehabilitation and with his desire for success stronger than ever, he’s now back to full fitness, ready to bang bars and fight for podiums when the gate drops for the start of the 2021 season.

Competing alongside Jonass, Brian Bogers also joins Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing for 2021. Currently ranked 12th in the 2020 MXGP World Championship, the Dutchman has been a constant threat for top-five results during recent GPs. Aiming for the top-10 in the final MXGP standings, Bogers, like his new teammate, will soon head into the off-season focused on testing and preparation ahead of the new MXGP season.

Pauls Jonass: “I’m really excited for my future with GASGAS. I have to thank the Standing Construct team for believing in me while I have been injured but I will be back to 100% and then I can start testing with the team. It’s an exciting time for me and my rehabilitation is going very well. I’m looking forward to a great future together with GASGAS and I look forward to achieving some great results when the 2021 season starts.”

Brian Bogers: “It’s a great feeling to be on the Standing Construct GASGAS team for 2021. I’m really looking forward to next season as I know the team is very professional and the bike is great. They have had impressive results over recent years, so it gives me a lot of confidence. It’s an exciting opportunity. I’ve had a strong season in 2020 and I’m ready for the next step with GASGAS in 2021.”

Tim Mathys – Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing MXGP Team Manager: “We’re excited to have two very capable riders for 2021, that give us an exciting all-new line-up. As a former MX2 World Champion, Pauls Jonass has already achieved great results in MXGP and has proved to be a rider with top-three potential. I am convinced that with the approach we have already used in our team, we can get the very best out of him. He is hugely motivated, and I believe that we can push him to an even higher level, just like we have done with many riders in the past. Our second rider, Brian Bogers, has matured a lot during the past season. He has proven during the last races, with 10 top-10 finishes in a row, that he is ready to have a breakthrough in the MXGP class. He is physically and mentally stronger and ready to compete with the big boys. Both Pauls and Brian are still young, so we will have a young, robust team that we can work closely with. Together with GASGAS Factory Racing we are confident in their abilities, and as a team we look forward to great results from both riders next season.”

Words and pic: GasGas

Round 2 – Valkenswaard

Devastation is a word that might quite closely reflect what Pauls Jonass and his team, and fans felt during the MXGP of The Netherlands in Valkenswaard the past weekend. Despite entering the 2nd round of the 2020 championship with high hopes and with the intention to clean up the mess made a week earlier in Great Britain, the stars once again did not align for the 23-year-old Latvian.

Saturday’s qualification was, as it turns out now, the highlight of the weekend, with Pauls flying out the starting gate in front of the pack. While the race leader Tim Gajser was struck by a bike problem and had to retire from the race, Jonass’ teammate Arminas Jasikonis sprinted by even the so called “Flying Dutchman”, local her Jeffery Herlings, who could do nothing but look on as the Lithuanian swiftly rode through the heavy sand. Pauls managed to finish 4th, giving a reason for everyone to hope for an even better races the following day.

An afternoon that turned out to be disastrous for the Latvian was not treating anyone too kindly, with heavy rain and wind circling the track during all of the races, reminding the racers and the teams of the unpleasant weather just a week ago in Matterley Basin. In addition to the air being chilly, the mud got stickier and stickier, indicating that the so called “google-lane” in the pitlane area will definitely come in handy for some. The 1st race kicked off well, Jonass being in the Top 10 of the fastest riders during the first part of the lap. An unlucky, swift decision turned everything around and, after colliding with Arnoud Tonus in hopes of passing him, both riders fell hard and had to pick themselves up from dead-last positions. The Latvian pulled through and secured the 13th spot at the end of the 1st moto.

As the day went by, the rainclouds stayed right were they were the whole day, making the sand stickier than ever. Following an excellent start and being in the 4th place for a couple of seconds, Pauls yet again made a slight mistake that cost him his balance, and the athlete fell in the first quarter of the first lap, letting almost all of the competitors drive by. This time, though, Jonass decided to take the matters in his own hands and fought up until the 7th position, almost catching up to the Top 5 guys. After the exhausting weekend that left the Latvian in 13th place in the championship overall classification, the ever so cheerful lad was visibly heart-broken. “I really believe that this has been incredibly bad luck for me and the whole team. I have the speed, I know it. In Argentina in two weeks time, we’ll be ready to fight for more points and much higher positions,” Jonass promised on Sunday evening.

As for now, the elite of motocross will have a one week break before the next stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Nequen, Argentina.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

Round 1 – Matterley Basin

The 2020 season of FIM Motocross Wolrd Championship kicked off in the well-known and beloved track of Matterley Basin in the vicinity of Wincester, Great Britain. After a long winter of physical and mental preparation and testing, the fastest motocross racers on the planet once again gathered for the season opener on what seemed to develop as a freezing weekend.

Pauls Jonass, the recently turned 23-year old, came to Matterly with great expectations upon his shoulders – unlike last year, in 2020 pre-season there were no setbacks to hold the Latvian youngster from showing his best results yet. Despite the ever so strong line-up, with names like Gajser, Helings, Cairoli, Prado, and many more decorating the list of title contenders, Pauls, cheerful as per usual, was looking forward to a great weekend of intense racing.

On Saturday, marking the first leap year of the decade with grim clouds and rainfall, nothing went as planned. The pitlane that the MXGP crew had built was destroyed by the gusty winds just as quickly, leaving the organisers with a pile of metal and more than 100 riders eager to geto on the track. The races were delayed, and it was decided that instead of having both a time practice and qualifying race, the main two classes – MX2 and MXGP – will have to do with with just the initial one to determine who’ll secure the top spot for the motos on Sunday.

As the riders enetered the circuit, rain started pouring. Needless to add that the wind did not help either, having many racers covered in jackets and shaking while dicsussing their lap times in the pitlane area. The Latvian did, depite the unfortunate weather circumstances, deliver a solid and swift ride on the first try, landing himself in the 5th position which determined his chances for picking a better spot the following day.

As Sunday arrived, so did the trouble again. After a what seemed to be a hopeless fisrt corner of the opening race of the 2020 season, Pauls found himself falling over and starting the race from dead-last position. As the race went on, the Latvian managed to gain more than 20 positions, finishing the race in 12th place. The second moto did not leave room for errors, bringing a DNF due to a fall early in the race which cost the brakes to be ripped off. Unfortunately, Pauls couldn’t continue the race and had to watch the rest of the season opener from the sidelines.

After the British MXGP, Jonass was a man of few words: “Clearly it’s not been the weekend me or the team had hoped for, but we’ll move on from it and focus on next weekend’s GP. I know I’m capable of doing a lot better than what we got this weekend. The first race wasn’t what we wanted but the crash in race two was a big one. It could have been really bad, so we move on and look to get things back on track next weekend.”

The next round of the 2020 season will be held amongst the tulip fields in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, in one week’s time.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

NICE GUYS DON’T FINISH LAST

One of the most anticipated races of the year took place last weekend, gathering motocross fanatics from all around the world in the sandy man-made circuit of Assen, the Netherlands. Team Latvia, led by the national hero and one of the most promising athletes of the MXGP class Pauls Jonass, placed 8th amongst 34 other nations.

After having been allotted the 10th gate pick for qualification race, Team Latvia riders, Pauls included, felt pumped for the upcoming races. After a decent performance by both of his teammates, Pauls decided to take the matters in his own hands during the 3rd quali race of the rainy day. Placing 2nd straight after the gate drop, he swiftly managed to overtake Kevin Strijbos for the race lead, maintaining the position for the rest of the moto. When asked about his performance, Pauls admitted to “feeling very happy and excited for the races on Sunday, especially due to the fact that a Latvian had never before won a qualification race at the MXoN event”.

Sunday did not spoil neither the fans nor the riders – it was pouring the whole time, making the preparation of the track a nightmare for even the experienced of organisers; however, the organising team in Assen managed to, even despite the conditions, come thorough and deliver.

After watching both of his teammates compete during the first moto, Pauls was ready to face the best racers in the world. The MX2 and Open race started off quite well, Jonass already being upfront amongst the leaders. He spent most of the race in the 2nd position, sporadically catching up to Glenn Coldenhoff who led the whole moto. The Latvian crossed the finish line just after the leader, delivering the best ever MXoN result for Team Latvia.

It was time to wrap up the biggest motocross event of the year, and MXGP and Open riders were lining up. The 3rd moto started off similarly to the previous one, and the young athlete once again managed to be amongst the frontrunners of the pack. Pauls was switching between 3rd and 4th position for a while, yet in the end concluded that a higher position would probably benefit his team a bit more. Finishing 2-3 for a 2nd place overall amongst the Open riders, Jonass showed everyone present and behind the TV screens around the world that he is a force to be reckoned with, both now and definitely in the future.

“Wow, what a crazy race,” said Pauls.  “Just like everyone else, I knew this was going to be a really tough day, but I like these conditions and was really looking forward to it. Also, I wanted to end my season with good results. I did that, and Team Latvia finished 8th overall, our best ever result.” Asked about the track conditions, Jonass admitted that “the sand was so, so deep in places – it was so easy to make a mistake.” 

“I got a good start in the first race, which was really important. Being close to the front of the pack makes a big, big difference. I made some passes and felt good in the 2nd heat. I pushed to try and close the gap between Glenn [Coldenhoff] and I, but got stuck with a lapper and dropped back. Also, I got a decent start in the second race and just tried to keep pushing forwards. The conditions were really bad, so to finish the Nations with a 2-3 result is fantastic. Everyone in the team has worked so hard this weekend, it’s an amazing way to finish the season,” he concluded cheerfully.

Even though the season of 2019 has officially ended, there’s no downtime when it comes to being prepared for the next year, so stay tuned for updates from Pauls on his social media and here as well. See you in 2020, folks!

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

BITTERSWEET ENDINGS

The last chapter of the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship was terminated in a quite exotic location never seen on the MXGP calendar before. Hong Kong hosted the 20th round with wide smiles and open arms, hoping for everyone to end his season the same way.

It is visible even to the unobservant of us that Pauls has finally found his groove. After a great start during the qualifying race, he came though 4th in a race which turned out to be quite the battle between the guys upfront. Asked about his performance later that day, the Latvian brushed off his performance as being “alright” and said that he’s looking forward to finish the season on a great note, hopefully even a podium finish at the last round. 

The track in Hong Kong had other plans on mind. Luckily, Pauls was fortunate enough to avoid any mistakes and, most importantly, huge crashes unlike some of his rivals. After a decent start Pauls was amongst the riders upfront, and skilfully maintained 5th position until the end of the moto, keeping his teammate Arminas Jasikonis behind within a safe distance.

The following and last race of the championship this year was not as cheerful as many of us wanted it to be. Even though Pauls rode well and finished 7th, there was a feeling of something being left undone. The 5 points that kept the Latvian from rising to the 5th spot in the overall classification also didn’t help with the mood.

Nonetheless, a major amount of work has been done this year. “I have some mixed feelings after this MXGP of China. With some podium results in recent races, I really wanted the same result here to end the year on a high note. But I didn’t feel as sharp as I have been feeling in the previous rounds. I’m not sure if it’s the jetlag, but anyway it certainly wasn’t a bad way to end the series,” said Jonass. “I got pretty good starts in both races ,but dropped back a little afterwards. Sixth overall is a pretty decent result. Also, to finish sixth in the MXGP championship is very positive. It was a steady start to the year, coming back from injury and also adjusting to the MXGP bike. The second half of the year was very positive – I started to improve my strength, feeling with the bike, starts and results. Now we’ll focus on the Nations before some time at home and preparation for next season.”

Indeed, the last piece of the puzzle will be put in place at the end of September when the best of the best will be gathering for a Motocross of Nations showdown in Assen, the Netherlands.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

THE SHOW MUST GO ON

On September 7 and 8 in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey, the second-to-last round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was held. The young Latvian rider Pauls Jonass earned his sweet spot on the podium, finishing 2-5 for a 3rd place overall.

Even before actually being in Turkey, Pauls was already excited since the following round was something different from the European vibe in the paddock that everyone’s already used to. Despite Turkey being the place where Jonass lost his hopes for a consecutive world title last year after colliding with Jorge Prado after one of the jumps and injuring his ACL, he was well over it this year. After a terrible start during Saturday’s qualification, Pauls fought his way up from dead-last to 9th, passing his rivals one by one. “Unfortunately, I fell right after the start and had to start all over again. I have to admit, I am quite happy with how the rest of the race turned out, and, despite the lack of time, I think I did a pretty good job,” admitted Jonass right after the quali heat.

It was proven once again on Sunday that Pauls has his mind and his muscles in all the right places. After a spectacular holeshot, the Latvian lead the whole MXGP pack for about a lap, later being passed by Jeffrey Herlings. This did not discourage Jonass, and he kept following the leader for the rest of the race, losing just 5 seconds at the end and finishing 2nd.

The next moto started off comparatively worse, yet Pauls was still in the Top10. He continued fighting for a higher position, and after eight laps winded up 5th, where he stayed for the remaining of the moto. The points he had earned were enough for Pauls to once again claim the 3rd step of the podium next to Jeffery Herlings and Glenn Coldenhoff. After this GP, Jonass is now in the 6th position in the championship classification, having passed his teammate Arminas Jasikonis.

“I felt great the whole weekend. To be honest, I wish the season wouldn’t come to and end this quickly since I’m finally used to the bike, its’ settings, the elements of each track… Of course, there’s one more round to go. And then there are the Nations, where I’ll be racing alongside Davis Ivanovs and Toms Macuks, representing Team Latvia. Hopefully I can make the most of it, so that the closure of the season is on a positive note and serves as a good motoivation for next year,” revealed Pauls after the MXGP of Tureky.

The next stop of the championship is Hong Kong in China, where the medals will be awarded and the season of 2019 will come to and end.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

AMONGST THE VIKINGS

The Uddevalla circuit in Sweden is one of the favourite stops for the Latvian Pauls Jonass for a good reason. With the return of the Swedish GP many PJ41 Team supporters and fans quietly were hoping for a turn of the events and, quite possibly, a weekend full of positive emotions. Pauls did not disappoint.

It could be sensed on Friday that the young athlete is in good spirits with his surroundings and, in fact, himself. After being asked about his thoughts on Saturday’s qualification race, Pauls, as per usual, responded that he will just try to do his best and look for a better starting position. After a great time practice, in which Pauls placed 1st, the quali race also started off nicely, the Latvian being one of the first few athletes who crossed the FOX Holeshot line. He spent most of the 20 minute race in the 4th position, losing only 5 seconds to the race leader.

On Sunday, the first race kicked just as well as the one on Saturday, Jonass closely following the leaders. He spent most of the moto being 4th and finishing that way. 2nd race was also off on a good note, and after a while Pauls was able to move up to the 3rd, and later – 2nd place for a brief moment. After being passed by a rival, the Latvina still winded up in the No.3 spot both at the end of the race and in the round overall classification.

“I’m really happy with my performance the past weekend – it feels great to be back on the podium again. It makes all the hard work by myself and the whole team worth it, and it shows we are definitely making progress, which was the goal this season. My starts were better this weekend, which helps a lot at this track, and I was then able to keep a good pace and stay with the top guys. The bike was great all weekend – we were able to make some changes to the suspension settings, which helped a lot here in Sweden. There was a lot of Latvian fans here this weekend and they made it feel like a home race for me, so thanks to them and I’m glad I was able to give them a good result,” revealed Jonass.

The next and second-to-last round of the 2019 season will be happening in Turkey in 2 weeks time. Despite the champions being already crowned, the fight for the rest of the positions are still on.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

ALMOST THERE?

For some, the MXGP of Imola promised to be one of the highlights of the whole season. For others, it was just another round trying to climb the ladder of the championship points overall classification. Pauls found himself somewhere in the middle, demonstrating some skilful riding, yet coming out just a bit short of a podium-finish.

Jonass kicked off the weekend on a good note, finding himself in the 4th position after the first four laps of qualifying race on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Latvian once again suffered from arm-pump, which lead to him falling back a bunch of positions and ending up in 8th place when reaching the checkered flag. “I am kind of bummed about the positions I lost during the quali heat,” admitted Jonass. “I was riding really well and even tried to catch up with the Top3 guys, but, as it has happened before, arm-pump kicked in and I couldn’t do anything about it but just slowly fall back into the pack.” 

On Sunday, the atmosphere at the track was electrifying. Thousands of Slovenian fans flooded in to witness their local hero Tim Gajser claim his 3rd World Championship title. In the meantime, there was no gifting him the sought-after championship points. Many riders, Pauls included, did everything in their power to overshadow the Slovenian. After a great start in the first moto, Jonass found himself amongst the first four riders again, at one point even climbing up to the No.3 spot. A mistake cost him to fall back to 8th position, yet the young athlete managed to recover and finish being 6th.

Second race was quite similar, Pauls flirting with the No.3 spot for most of the race; however, it was Jeremy Seewer who managed to finish inside the Top3. At the end of the race, Pauls was passed by another rival and ended up placing 5th, a solid finish that bought the same position in the MXGP of Italy overall chart. 

“I’m happy with 5th place, but felt we could have done a little better. I got decent starts in both races, so that is a really positive change. We were able to identify a few places where I was losing a little time, and I know I still need to work on my strength for riding the 450cc, especially on a technicals surfaces like the one today. The track was heavy going and quite slippery in places, like on the take offs of the jumps – a lot of the time one had to fire out the corners really hard to clear them, and that was pretty tricky. We had good pace today and a good set up – just need to work on bringing it all together and saving the smoothness throughout the whole race. It’s MXGP of Sweden next, which is one of my favourite circuits, so I’m looking forward to that,” smiled Jonass.

As mentioned before, the next stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship will be taking place next weekend in the scenic circuit of Uddevalla in Sweden.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

DEEP RUTS AND TIMID STRUTS

The 14th round of the FIM Motocross World Championship was held in Lommel, Belgium. The circuit is considered to be one if the toughest tracks in the race calendar due to it’s sandy layout and ruts, frequently measuring up to 1 meter in depth.

Pauls kicked off his weekend by being just outside the Top10 during the qualifying race. The 20 minutes and 2 laps were quite hard for the Latvian, who made some costly mistakes and got thrown back in the pack, eventually winding up in 14th position.

On Sunday, after coming out of the starting lane inside the pack of the first ten riders during the first final race, the athlete lost his speed halfway through and fell back a couple of positions. Jonass described his performance frankly : ” It was tough on Sunday – conditions were a lot warmer than on Saturday and the track got a lot bumpier. The first race went by well. Even though I made a few mistakes that made me drop down from 5th to 7th place, things went well overall.”

“In the second moto I got a good start again, but then ended up stalling the bike in one of the corners. It took a while to get going again. It’s a shame because this is definitely one of my favourite GPs and I know I have the speed to do well here,” he revealed afterwards. Indeed, the second MXGP race of the day brought highs and lows as Pauls was riding very well, at one point even being in the 4th place; however, Lommel was having none of his success – after getting stuck in one of the corners of the track the Latvian had to work his way up all over again, pushing his physical and mental abilities to the limit. Jonass finished 11th, a spot not satisfactory neither for the athlete nor his team and fans.

“Looking at the positives, my lap times were good and stayed swift right till the end. I need to work a little on my physical fitness as the weight of the 450 and the added speed around here takes a lot more from one than the MX2 bike. Overall, I am happy with how I rode and am now looking forward to the next round in Italy,” Jonass ended cheerfully, despite falling to the 10th spot in the championship overall standings.

In two weeks time, the elite of motocross will gather at Imola, Italy, for the 15th round of the season of 2019.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

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