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