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.