Arnaud Tonus interview - Motocross Illustrated Feature
Interview Saturday 13th August 2011 By Geoff Meyer
Switzerland isn’t a country that is big in Motocross. Despite having some of the most famous circuits in the sport such as Wohlen, Roggenburg and Payerne the small country tucked between Italy, Austria and France has yet to have a Grand Prix winner, let alone a World Motocross Champion.
Now with Arnaud Tonus on the scene that might change. Despite the ever impressive shadow of Ken Roczen hanging over the 2011 World MX2 Championship there is every chance that Tonus can take a Grand Prix victory and that is something we might not have said about a rider for Switzerland in a very long time.
Watching Tonus racing this year you can see a huge improvement in his riding. Having ridden for the Suzuki MX2 factory team in 2010 alongside Ken Roczen you might think that a 2011 spot in the Steve Dixon owned Bike It Cosworth Yamaha UK team might be a little of a backward step, but that is anything but the case.
Tonus comes from a family of Motocrossers, his dad raced Grand Prix back in the 1980s and 90’s, and he is now working with a good friend of his father five times World Motocross Champion Georges Jobe.
Motocross Illustrated: Arnaud, can you tell me a little about your interest in Motocross, how you got involved?
Tonus: I am born on the track almost, I have always been on a Motocross track and I love the sport. I always wanted to ride when I was a kid, did some different championships, which helped me, progress. In Switzerland Motocross isn’t so popular and it’s difficult to progress there, so racing outside Switzerland helped a lot, I have been all over Europe to improve my riding.
Motocross Illustrated: What about your first race?
Tonus: I think I can remember, I was crashing in the start. I wheelied out of the start and tried to control it but crashed. It was in Payerne, I don’t know if you know the track. I was seven years old and it was a bad race, but I enjoyed it. I was so nervous I didn’t even know what I was doing.
Motocross Illustrated: Did you have a hero back then?
Tonus: I had a lot of hero’s, always Carmichael, I liked how he was with the fans. Also I had a good relationship with Georges Jobe, he has helped me a lot with training and always been a good friend to me. I raced with Carmichael in 2007 in Budds Creek, remember he crashed in the start and I was able to make two corners with him, so that was amazing and a dream for me.
Motocross Illustrated: Do you follow the American series much?
Tonus: I follow every race. I am pretty close friends with Kenny (Roczen), so I follow him also. It would be a dream to do some races out there. Do some Supercross, it’s a nice atmosphere there. I didn’t go to any races when Kenny was out there, just been to America for the Motocross of Nations and also for Glen Helen, but I would love to train there and do some Supercross. Maybe with Zach, maybe I can train with him, I know he has a good place to ride so maybe that will happen.
Motocross Illustrated: Riding with Kenny as your team-mate, that must have been a good experience. How did you find that?
Tonus: We rode a lot together and he taught me a many things, but in training he is so different than in the race. In the race he has another level, in races he is very impressive. When we trained together the speed difference wasn’t that different, but when he wanted to push he could go really fast. Usually we were close in speed, but racing is totally different, as you have seen this year.
Read the full interview below.