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PATAGONIA – TO BE OR NOT TO BE

Latvian motocross racer Pauls Jonass has put in a lot of work and resources during the wintertime following the ACL surgery sustained in September so that he can return to training on the track as soon as possible. On Wednesday, February 20, the athlete announced his decision to participate in the opening round of the 2019 MXGP World Motocross Championship, which will take place on March 3 in the picturesque region of Patagonia, Argentina. The Nequen track is one of the most exotic stops in the MXGP calendar, and Jonass is no exception amongst the many athletes being affectionate towards the Argentinian paradise. His decision to start at the beginning of the season has been prompted by both feeling of wellness and positive emotions related to the Patagonia track.

At the end of September, Pauls went to the Ortema Clinic in Germany, where, under the guidance of experienced specialists, he underwent an ACL surgery in his left leg, followed by several months of rehabilitation. Every day, Jonass visited his physiotherapist, masseur, and osteopath, and spent several hours a day performing various muscles and joint strengthening exercises to be able to train on his motorcycle as soon as possible. The athlete admits that this period was very difficult not only physically, but also psychologically. “Every day I had to perform a variety of theoretically simple and easy exercises that would not have caused me problems under normal circumstances, but now I had to recover the full functionality of the left leg, which very complicated and time-consuming. Of course, watching my competitors being on the track and participating in the races was even harder, ” the athlete admits.

At the moment, Pauls is in Italy, where he and his team Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Racing Team are testing bike settings on different tracks for the athlete to feel as comfortable as possible on the new 450cc motorcycle. “I really like to be racing on the “big bike”; there is so much power in it, but I must, of course, be able to control it and use it wisely. We have spent a lot of time on the track together with the team, but I ought not forget about the physical fitness. At the moment, even tiring hours on the bicycle do not seem boring because the desire to train outstrips everything. Since I could not train fully during the winter, I do it now with double the energy,” says Jonass, adding that his competitors, who are already in good physical shape, are definitely giving a special boost to the level of his physical fitness. “Unlike other riders, who were able to start preparing for the 2019 season at the end of last year, I’m not even close to my best shape right now, but I feel pretty confident about my performance, which is one of the reasons I decided to go to the first GP. I really like the track in Argentina, and it is definitely one of my favourite MXGP stops. Admittedly, the fact that there will be fewer supporters and critics in Patagonia, whose count would have been overwhelming in Europe, is also a good thing. This means that the pressure on me will be much lesser than if the first stage took place, for example, in the Netherlands or Belgium. ”

Asked about his goals for the 2019 season, Pauls is quite restrained: “We have agreed with the team that we will not set any grand goals for this year, given that this will be the first year I will be racing on a 450cc motorcycle. Of course, I will try to fight for the highest places and do everything in my power to not disappoint both the team and the fans, but people should realise that miracles do not happen just like that. It will take time for me to regain the physical strength and get used to racing in the royal MXGP class”.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Marcin Kin

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