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PAULS JONASS INTERVIEW – ARGENTINA?

With just a few weeks before the opening round of the MXGP championship, former MX2 champion Pauls Jonass is racing the clock to be ready. While the Latvian racer doesn’t want to rush his return after his an operation on his torn ACL, he is working hard and finally got to get back on his bike a couple of weeks ago.

Jonass, who moves to the MXGP class in 2019 should be one of the front runners once back, but will only return when 100% and the risk of returning and struggling in such a competitive class wouldn’t be a wise move.

We caught up with the always friendly Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider and talked about how his life has been the last few months.

MXLarge: Pauls, you asked me to call you in 15 minutes, but I wanted to wait until it was 18.41 so we had the numbers good for you. Had to get 41 in there.

Jonass: Great Geoff, then it’s going to be a good interview.

MXlarge: I often have trouble contacting riders in the off season of via mobile, because I feel like I am getting into their private time. I thought I had interviewed not that long ago, but then I checked and realized it was actually three months ago. In that interview you mentioned you might start riding again at the end of January or early February. It is now the first week of February. Have you started riding?

Jonass: Yes, I am on the bike. I started riding the 24th of January, but that was just a try out. I flew to Sardinia and actually it was before I saw the doctor, I just spoke with my physiotherapist and he said it was alright to try. We rode and it went smooth and after two days I flew back to Belgium to see the doctor and the doctor said if the knee is feeling good, then you can continue riding. So I flew back to Sardinia and I am there now training and trying to get to ride the bike as much as possible/

MXlarge: Obviously you have not ridden the bike for a long time, and you maybe haven’t ridden the 450 at all, and it’s a Husky not a KTM. How has that transition been?

Jonass: Actually, it was a long time since I was on the bike before I started riding again. My last race was Assen, the last time I was on the bike, but actually since my crash in Turkey, I hadn’t been training on the bike, just racing it, so not so much riding. I think that race was September 26, so it’s a long time off the bike. The first time I rode the 450, the Husqvarna, it felt good. I like the power and I enjoy it a lot. I feel comfortable on the bike, just need to make some hours and learn the bike and it’s a new bike, and has more power, so I need to get used to that.

MXlarge: I can imagine you riding style really suited the 450 much better than the 250. On the 250 you have to push really hard on the bike, while the 450 I can imagine you can guide it around and that would be perfect for how you ride. Is that true?

Jonass: Yes, that is the thing. Already last year, a little in the winter last year, I rode the 450 and Harry (Everts) my trainer said I am a 450 rider. Now I really enjoy riding it, as you said the 250 you need to really push the limits, but the 450 you can play on the bike while going really fast and I enjoy that.

MXlarge: Going back a little, when you were injured and getting closer to being able to ride the bike. I saw an interview with Marc Marquez, the MotoGP champion, where they actually had to take the wheels off his bike, because he wanted to ride it too much in the off-season. Did you have any problems with wanting to ride the bike when not really ready?

Jonass: It was really tough, because the knee surgery, like the first month, I couldn’t do anything, just went to the physio and did some exercises, not even cycling properly, just like two times 10 minutes a day. For sure, the team’s workshop is next to Lommel, and many times I could hear the bikes riding around, it was difficult. I went to watch a few times, just maximum 10 minutes to see how the guys were riding, but it was really tough to watch and not be riding myself. I could do nothing, just easy training. Lucky I have good people around me to get me through that. What is funny, I enjoy the training so much more now, even the long cycling. I enjoy everything so much more, because I missed it so much. In the long term maybe this injury will be good for me.

MXlarge: That was actually my next question, because having so much time off, and missing it so much, I can imagine the positive from the negative is that you got a break from the day to day things and it has refreshed you for 2019?

Jonass: Yes, for sure. All the riders, all the professional athletes, they are so deep into it and so strict in what they do, that the riding is enjoyable, but maybe the other things, the other training, they don’t enjoy as much. Cycling, running or whatever, I couldn’t do it and l like to push the limits again and go longer and longer both riding and training.

MXlarge: You are in Sardinia, I am guessing riding with many GP guys. Are you at a stage that you can test your speed against them on the 450?

Jonass: For sure I am riding with my team-mates and other riders at the track, but I am not busy with checking the lap times, just trying to get time on the bike and getting that feeling of being comfortable. Just doing my motos and making the hours.

MXLarge: And your decision to not do any pre-season races, that still stands?

Jonass: No, for sure not. I am still not sure if I go to Argentina. I want to be 100% ready for racing and don’t want to rush anything.

MXLarge: So when will you make a decision on Argentina?

Jonass: I think the team has to pack the crates around the 20th of February, so around that time I need to decide.

MXlarge: Being down in Italy, did you go to any of the Italian races and what did you think?

Jonass: Yes, I was down here for the opening race and I watched that. It’s a tough track and nice to see guys racing again and in the atmosphere. But I prefer to be racing and not at the side of the track.

MXlarge: You will now stay down in Sardinia until the season starts?

Jonass: We will stay for a couple more weeks, because the weather isn’t good in Belgium. It’s nice down here for cycling or riding and that is easier than in Belgium because of the weather. We did the photo shoot today and yesterday. So you need to wait for the nice images. The new gear is on points, so you need to be excited for the photos.

MXlarge: The gear looks good?

Jonass: Yes, really good, I like everything about Husqvarna, the gear looks really clean and clear and the team everything is perfect.

 

Source: https://www.mxlarge.com

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING SIGN PAULS JONASS

Husqvarna Motorcycles are pleased to welcome Pauls Jonass to the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP team, where the 21-year-old Latvian will compete on Husqvarna’s FC 450 machine throughout the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

Crowned MX2 World Champion in 2017, Pauls Jonass has been one of the most successful 250cc class riders in recent history. With the 2017 season being the highlight of his career to date, that season Pauls reached the podium in 15 out of the 19 rounds. Involved in a thrilling battle to defend his title throughout 2018, Pauls ended his campaign as the 2018 FIM MX2 World Championship runner-up.

Despite his young age, Pauls already has more than a decade of motocross racing experience under his belt. Gradually advancing through the ranks of the junior categories, Pauls was crowned the 2011 85cc Junior World Champion, winning the 125cc Junior Motocross World Championship two years later.

At just 21 years of age, Jonass is one of the most promising young riders of his era. Known for his strong work ethic and determination to succeed, the rider from Aizpute, Latvia is a perfect fit for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team.

With Pauls Jonass joining the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP squad with immediate effect, further details on the team’s complete line-up will be announced in the coming weeks.

Pauls Jonass – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing: “I’m really excited to be part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team. The switch to the MXGP category is a big move for me but I can’t wait to get started. Joining such an acclaimed team gives me a huge amount of motivation to continue working hard in order to achieve my goals. I’m looking ahead to a great future with the team. I’ve known Antti [Pyrhönen] and the rest of the team members for some years already and it feels good to start working with them. Following my knee surgery last month, my goal right now is to start riding my Husqvarna at the earliest possible time. I want to maximise my time on the bike, so I can be fully-fit and ready to enter this exciting new season in the MXGP category.”

Diego Clement – Head of Motorsport at Husqvarna Motorcycles: “We are extremely happy to have former MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass join our team. We truly believe Pauls has the potential to become a frontrunner in the extremely competitive MXGP category. Pauls is one of the most experienced motocross racers of his generation and already a three-time World Champion. His speed is never in doubt, and he has impressed us, as he has the wider motocross community, with his ability to perform on varying track conditions. It’s going to be an exciting new season and we are all looking forward to seeing Pauls do battle against the MXGP class elite aboard our FC 450 machine.”

Kimi Räikkönen – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (IceOne) team owner: “With Pauls joining our team the goal is to continue our success. The Motocross World Championship is the most competitive global motocross series and we’re pleased to be strengthening our team with a former World Champion. I am confident all members of our team will give their best to help Pauls achieve his goals in the MXGP class.”

Antti Pyrhönen– Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP team manager: “We are all looking forward to working with Pauls Jonass as he starts an exciting new chapter in his professional motocross career. Everyone knows Pauls is an extremely hard working rider, which we know will help him fit in perfectly with our team. Already being a world champion speaks volumes about his capabilities. He is both physically and mentally strong and has demonstrated time and again that he is able to excel even under the toughest conditions. We all can’t wait to start working with this young and extremely talented rider.”

THE SAND OF LOMMEL SHOWS NO MERCY FOR PAULS

The MXGP of Lommel ended with the victory of the young Spaniard Jorge Prado during the 15th sage of the FIM Motocross World Championship last Sunday. Last year’s champion Jonass ended up being 5th, and the points gap between the two riders has increased to 28.

Pauls admits that during this GP the luck obviously wasn’t on his his side. “On Saturday everything went smoothly, I had a good race and earned the 2nd spot for Sunday’s gate pick. On Sunday, during the first moto I was trying to follow my teammate Jorge closely to pass him on one of the last laps, but one of the lappers got in the way, so I lost my rhythm and fell. The mistake cost me a couple of spots and I ended up in the 4th position,” says Jonass.

“The second race started off unsuccessfully. The rider next to me somehow jumped over the starting gate with his bike and kind of messed up my whole focus, which is why I couldn’t react accordingly and had to start the race from the back of the pack. I had never experienced something like this, to be honest. It sometimes happens that guys run into the gate, but nobody had jumped over before. After this incident, I made a mistake and fell, ending up 6th in the second moto and 5th overall.”

Despite Prado having gained an even greater points advantage over Pauls, the Latvian admits that he is still full of spirits and doesn’t even think of giving up. “Yes, the points gap is bigger now, but there are still 5 GPs to go, a lot can change. I feel good – I have the speed and the physical strength, it’s just that this time the good luck wasn’t on my side. I will continue to train hard and prepare myself for the upcoming races to be able to pull off my best performances. The goal is to finish this season the way I started it.”

JONASS: “WE’LL FIGHT TILL THE END AND NOT GIVE UP THE CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE”

Latvian Pauls Jonass came through 4th and 5th at the Czech stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship, finishing 4th overall. Due to this, for the first time in this season, Pauls is not at the top of the overall points standings.

The last round did not go as planned, according to Pauls. “The qualification race started off terribly since I got into a crash with one of the other riders and begun the race from the last position. Unfortunately, I fell once more during the race, ending up in the 16th position.”

Quite similarly, Pauls’ performance on Sunday was equally dissatisfying. “I managed to come through 4th at the end of the 1st moto, but made a mistake and crashed at the end of the 2nd moto and finished 5th.”

Despite the fact that Pauls has lost his No.1 spot at the overall points standings, he is more than determined to not give up the fight for the title just yet. “After the races my team and I analysed the motos and discussed over what should be changed in terms of riding and training. One of the most important things that need to be changed is the starts. I have the speed, so we will try to make some changes for the next round. We still have 12 motos to go, so nothing’s lost.”

CHASE FOR THE TITLE STARTS AGAIN

The last two stages of the Motocross World Championship were held in the country of Indonesia. Latvian Pauls Jonass finished 5th in the first one of the rounds; however, he was able to regroup and fought back to earn the 2nd place at the MXGP of Asia. After both of the stages Pauls is still the leader of the championship despite the fact that both he and his teammate  Jorge Prado has the same amount of points.

“You could tell by looking at the points table that these two rounds were not my most successful ones” starts Pauls. “During the first round in Indonesia the track was very soft with deep ruts – the type of circuit that I do not find too appealing for me. In the first moto I managed to come through second, a position that I was quite pleased with. During the second race the start was good and everything else seemed to be fine, but after four laps I completely lost my rhytm and begin struggling a lot. This cost me a few positions, and I ended up crossing the finish line in the 7th place. I was quite disappointed in myself.”

“I liked the second track in Indonesia – I had both the speed and the physical ability to compete for the top spots on the podium. You could clearly see that during the first moto that I won. Sadly, bad luck was literally just around the corner as I crashed shortly after the start where the track was very wet and slick. The moment my bike was on the solid part of that turn, the front wheel went sliding and I fell down. After this episode, I was forced to fight my way up from the back of the pack; I managed to climb to the 6th position which gave me a 2nd place overall. Unfortunately, I had some back luck this time, which is a shame since I was feeling very well both physically and mentally.”

There are only 7 stages of the championship separating the riders from the end of the season. “Prado and I are now starting from scratch again. Nothing has been lost yet, the main battles are still in front of us. The next couple of GPs will be held in tracks that I dig, so training hard and giving my best I what I intend to do now.”

ITALY BRINGS A PODIUM FINISH AND DEVASTATING RACES

Latvian motocross racer Pauls Jonass earned a third place finish last weekend in the sandy track of Ottobiano in Italy during the 11th stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship. The pints advantage over his teammate Jorge Prado has shrunken to just 9 points.

Whan asked about the last weekend, Pauls admitted that the speed he showed on the track was good, but he had some other things to worry about as well. “Unfortunately, the Italian GP didn’t turn out as good as I expected it to be. Yes, a third place finish is not too bad; however, it is not what we wanted to achieve before the start. Sadly, the starts were not as good as I anticipated. After I had passed the crowd that I was behind, my closest rivals were already way ahead and I could not catch up due to the lack of time. The speed was good, but I just couldn’t find the right rythm. Some other issues were also present – during the first moto my hand started to feel numb which is why I couldn’t really hold the bike. In the second moto during the last 10 minutes the blisters on my hands burst, so the last few laps I was holding back tears as the pain was so bad” Pauls tells us.

The Latvian admits that Prado seems to be in a very good physical condition which is why he needs to put in the additional work to surpass his teammate. “My teammate Prado is in a very good form and is riding really well. He is a very serious rival, that’s why I have a lot of space for improvement to be able to secure my spot at the top of the overall points standings. We’ll keep working hard to increase the points gap in Indonesia and to be on the highest step of the podium once again. At the moment, we are focusing on the riding part of my  trainings because I’m physically fit enough,” adds Pauls by saying that he needs to increase the intensity of the riding practices.

“There are still 450 points “on the table” which is why the real fight is still ahead. Nothing is over!” he grins mischievously.

PAULS HAS AN UNSUCCESFUL WEEKEND IN FRANCE

At the FIM Motocross World Championship in France Pauls Jonass finished in the fifth position which allowed his closest rival Jorge Prado to approach the Latvian in the championship overall standings.

Despite the fact that Jonass enjoys a good mud race, this time he had to be enough with the fourth position after the first moto. After grabbing the holeshot in the second race and falling shortly after that, Pauls reached the finish line in the sixth place which summed up to ending up fifth in the GP of France. After half of the stages of the season Pauls is now 16 points ahead of his teammate Jorge Prado.

“On Saturday everything went well, I was happy with my riding. On the night from Saturday to Sunday there was a storm so the track flooded and really muddy. In the first moto I had a bad start since the starting line was not prime, and also had a little run-in with Prado. After that, I think I was third or fourth, but the racing was jerky – I wasn’t feeling myself which is why I definitely was not satisfied with the race” admits the racer.

“In the second moto after a long time I got a holeshot; however, a few corners later I crashed, and this resulted in having to start the race from the very end. I continued to persist and fought my way up to the sixth position. Of course, to catch up with the rest of the fast guys I had to risk it a bit more than usually. I ended the race in sixth position, but because of the crash I wasn’t really expecting a much higher place. Overall I have to admit that I am not happy with how the French GP went for me. We have to continue working and hope for the best.”

Jonass points out that the season is still only halfway done so a lot can change in the remaining 10 rounds. “I already had a practice on Monday morning. You have to work hard to be on the top. The fight is hard and the season long, which is why the the most important battles are yet to come. There is no room for errors. I don’t pay a lot of attention to the point standings, but, of course, it is a lot more soothing to know that there are a bit more than a dozen of them between Jorge and I.”

JONASS: “I COULDN’T LET PRADO WIN AGAIN”

At the 9th stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship stage in Matterley Basin, Great Britain, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team pilot Pauls Jonass emerged victorious in both races. By doing so, he extended his lead over his teammate Jorge Prado in the championship point standings.

“In the first race I had a decent start being behind Prado. I passed him in the third corner and led the rest of the moto despite the fact that Jorge was closely following me the whole time. The second race started off similarly to the first one; however, I made a couple of mistakes that let Prado run off a bit. Nonetheless, later on I caught up and smoothly passed him. This was a very important victory – I just couldn’t let him beat me again” laughingly admits Jonass, who celebrated his last overall win at the GP of Russia while Prado had won three of the last six rounds.

After the next round half of the season will have passed. Pauls says that as of now, he is quite satisfied with how the season is going. “I am pretty happy with the results. There were a couple of GPs where I definitely wasn’t in my best shape and could’ve finished in a higher position. There is a battle going on between Jorge and I while TKO is already more than 100 points behind. Despite this, I cannot relax or lose focus. The most important thing now is to gain points after every single race.”

After being asked about his fitness, Pauls admitted that he’s feeling great.  “I’m very fit now; I had a bit of a downtime at the Italian and Portugese GPs, but now everything’s fine. The next two rounds are back-to-back, but I like that it doesn’t get boring during the weekends” he laughs.

The Latvian was blown away by the fans who had gathered to cheer him on at the famous circuit. “It was amazing to see so many Latvian flags weaving around the track. It felt like there were more of those than the British ones” he grins.

PAULS EARNS SECOND PLACE AT THE GP OF GERMANY AND REMAINS AT THE TOP OF THE STANDINGS

The eighth stage of the FIM Motocross World Championship was held yesterday at the German track in Teutschenthal, where Pauls Jonass gained the second place in the MX2 classification.

Jorge Prado turned out to be the fastest guy in the qualifying race while Pauls was second. In the first moto Jonass managed to stay unbeaten cashing in his ninth race win; however, in the second moto Prado couldn’t be stopped and came through to win the MXGP of Germany. After this GP, Pauls still remains 22 points ahead of his teammate in the overall classification.

“Overall this was a good weekend for me because I neither won nor lost points. Of course, we’re always trying to win but this time Jorge was better. I won the first moto which was great; at the beginning of the second race Prado was able to run away form the rest of the guys while I got a little stuck behind Henri Jacobi. When I had passed him, Prado had already extended the gap to 6 seconds. Unfortunately, this time I couldn’t catch up and reduce the gap. Overall we earned the same amount of points but he won the second race and the GP overall. I am quite satisfied since this track is not one of my favorite ones” admits Jonass.

Pauls also told us that the riding was easier this time because there was no pressure of being the home-town hero like it was in Kegums. “The emotions had settled after Kegums so I had a clear mind this time. I love my fans and seeing them all around the track but it’s a lot to handle on weekends like that one. Still, I am beyond grateful for their support.”

The next MX2 stage is in two weeks time, during which Pauls and his team will follow their training schedule and prepare for the next competition. “I have a weekend off now after which I’ll be busy three weekends in a row. I like the tracks in Great Britain, France, and Italy so I’m looking forward to the upcoming races. We’ll be putting in some extra work over the next two weeks so that I’m prepared for Matterley Basin. I’m feeling great physically and mentaly so everything’s alright.”

JONASS: “OF COURSE I WANTED TO WIN MY HOME GP BUT ALL IS WELL”

On Sunday at the motocross track “Zelta Zirgs” in Kegums, Latvia, the seventh round of the MXGP World Motocross championship was held. The local hero Pauls Jonass earned third place;despite the fact that he was aiming higher than that, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team athlete was mildly satisfied with his performance.

“I felt good on Sunday morning despite the unlucky qualifying race. I had thought it through and acknowledged my errors. I guess you could say that I was ready for a battle” admits Pauls.

“In the first moto I managed to get a holeshot and the rest of the race went on really well too; I secured the second place behind Thomas Kjer Olsen and had a good feeling about the second moto. Unfortunately, I got squeezed in before the first turn and had to fight my way up from the twentieth position. During the last minutes the feeling was there and I had found my rythm so I didn’t struggle that much. Even though I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders this past weekend, I still felt quite well and did my best.”

Pauls admits that even despite the fact that he did not emerge victorious at his home GP once again, he still managed to gain the very valuable championship points and extend the lead over his closest rival. “Of course I am happy that I got to be on the podium. Yes, I wanted to win here in front of my fans but hey, there’s always the nest year” laughs Jonass who is now 22 points ahead of his teammate Jorge Prado.

When asked about the heat Pauls admitted that it did not bother him that much since a slight breeze was also omnipresent. At the end of the conversation he expresses the gratitude towards the fans:” I could see and hear them all over the track, especially during the second moto whan I had to fight from the very end of the pack. Thanks a lot to everyone who was out there, it was very cool!” finished Pauls, who is now preparing for the upcoming MXGP of Germany.

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