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After a month-long break, the world motocross elite returned to Italy, Mantova, where the 5th round of the FIM World Motocross Championship was held in the midst of thunderstorms and countless fans. Mantova is one of Pauls’ favourite Italian tracks, where a lot of his training sessions have taken place.

During April, the athlete spent long hours improving both his physical fitness and his racing technique. Lots of strenuous work was done by regulating the motorcycle settings and working with coaches and physiotherapists. “Over the past month together with the team we tried to spend as much time on the track as possible, so that I gradually start to accumulate experience that theoretically should have been acquired during the winter training period. I also participated in several stages of the Dutch Championship, where quite a few of my MXGP competitors were present, so these relative training-races were valuable for my future growth,” Jonass said on Friday night.

Despite the famously pleasant Italian weather, the weekend turned out to be damp and rainy. On Saturday’s qualifying race, Pauls succeeded unexpectedly after a phenomenal start. The young Latvian then rounded off immediately after the championship overall leader Cairoli. Although the athlete made a number of mistakes during the race that allowed rivals to pass Jonass, he managed to maintain 7th position when passing the checkered flag.

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, a storm raged across the track, leaving Mantova in puddles and causing concern in teams, riders, and fans. During the MX2 race, it was clear that this day would not be easy for anyone – several of the leading riders left the race after different technical issues. Luckily, during Pauls’ 1st moto, just like on Saturday’s racing, he started off 5th in the start, comfortably placing himself in the 4th position a moment later, where the athlete spent the first 10 minutes of the race. As the end of the race approached, Pauls managed to overtake a few more rivals, resulting in the Latvian coming out 2nd.

Race 2 was also kicked off skilfully, with Jonass already in the 4th position after the first few corners. After a short while, Pauls stepped up to the 3rd place, where he finished the 2nd moto behind Antonio Cairoli. This is the first MXGP Top3 finish in the Latvian’s career.

“I am very pleased with what has been done today. I felt comfortable on the bike yesterday during the qualifying race and today as well. Of course, we need to continue to work and develop, but it seems that the hours we have invested are beginning to pay off. Hopefully I’ll be able to show the same resultson June 15th and 16th in Kegums in front of my home crowd,” Pauls said after a conversation on Sunday.

The next World Motocross Championship stage is expected next week, when the athletes and teams will go to the sunny Agued track in Portugal.

Written by Nikola Serge

Image by Juan Pablo Acevedo

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