Pauls Jonass interview – Italy

Red Bull KTM Factory rider Pauls Jonass had a very good start to the season with a 4-6 results at the opening race of the year in Sardinia last weekend and was the most consistent of the MX2 riders.

The Latvian looked strong in the opening MX2 moto as he trailed team-mate Jorge Prado, and was looking good for a second place, until arm-pump set in. In the Elite race, that pitted the 450s against the 250s he rocketed out of the start and held fifth place early, before finishing in sixth.

As always he was kind enough to accept our call and told us about his season opener. Ray Archer images

MXlarge: I saw that you mentioned you had a bit of arm pump. Can you tell me how you felt going into the event?

Jonass: You know we were in Sardinia for two weeks, and training hard with Marc. I felt I had a good off-season, but I haven’t raced for half a year, so it was difficult to be behind the start gate again. I didn’t feel stressed, but I think maybe in the back of my mind I was a bit stressed, and in the first laps I felt really good and riding relaxed, and everything was going to plan, but then in a moment I got really bad arm pump and started to struggle a lot and almost couldn’t hang on anymore.

MXlarge: The second moto you got a great start and looked really strong. How did you feel?

Jonass: In the second race, the MX1 and MX2 moto, it went better. Also the track got a lot rougher, because the first race the track was flat and it was wide open racing. The second race you could play a little bit on the track, with the bumps, so it was better for me. The main goal was to play it safe and not get any injuries, because the season is so long and we still have three weeks until Qatar.

MXlarge: You and Prado had great starts in the second race, how did you guys get such good starts?

Jonass: The 450s lined up first, they were on the outside, and the 250 guys on the inside, so we had an advantage, although the 450s had so much power and they still pulled away a little bit, but Jorge and I was like 5th and 6th. So it was pretty good. They had the steel gate, and that was good practice for the GPs.

MXlarge: How did that plate feel?

Jonass: It was pretty good, you can go to the gate late, and you don’t need to spend time preparing your gate. I think it was good because everybody was the same. Maybe it’s not so good for some riders who are good on all soil starts, but now we can practice on the steel gate, as its always the same.

MXLarge: The MX2 guys has some nice times in the first moto. How different was the track throughout the day?

Jonass: The track was really heavy, and they had a lot of rain leading into the event. The track was pretty wet. We were there for practice prior to the race, and the track was completely different for the race compared to when we trained there. Also the MX2 guys went out first and the track was really flat. In the last combined race, the track was really rough, but I finished 6th in the second race and Tony was riding really, really good today and he’s looked really fast in training. I think I finished like 40 seconds behind him in the last race, so that wasn’t too bad.

MXlarge: Early in that elite race it looked like you were actually catching Gajser, was that the case?

In the beginning in the first 10 minutes I felt really good, and I was catching the front guys, but like I said, it was the first race of the season and I was making mistakes and I need to improve on that. At the end of the day I am happy how everything went, we stayed safe and now I will go to Hawkstone Park and then France for that race, to get well prepared for the GPs.

Obviously Jorge was fast in that first one. I am guessing you guys training together really helps both your speed, because along with Seewer you might be the top guys in the class.

Jonass: We are team-mates, but we don’t ride together so much. He stays in Italy for the Italian championships and I go to Hawkstonw. Even in training we have different planning. We do most things on our own, but more or less we do our own thing. Sure sometimes there are four of five of us. In Sardinia we rode with Tony and Glen and also Jorge was here, and other GP riders, so that helps.

MXLarge: Has Jeffrey been riding with Antonio?

Yes, he has. They went riding together a few times, but then Jeffrey had to go home with his injury. Both are really fast, so for the fans it’s going to be really interesting.

You are off to Hawkstone Park. With Marc helping you, and he is a bit of a legend at Hawkstone Park. What has he told you about that race?

I am really looking forward to that race. I have only heard good things about this race. I wanted to do it last year, but I had a thumb injury. Marc is always telling me about Hawkstone, and he will for sure tell me some good lines for that race.