Interview: New kid on the block!
Pauls Jonass is the latest teenage rider that factory KTM have signed to win them some World titles. On the heels of Roczen, Herlings and Tixier who have all done the business, Jonass impressed in 2014 despite illness preventing him competing in some of the early GPs.
Now, after a win at the opening round of the Italian championship, all eyes will be on Jonass to see if he can step up and deliver the results KTM will expect. Andy McKinstry caught up with the talented Latvian to discuss his 2014 season and his thoughts on 2015.
Gatedrop: In 2013 you won the emx125 championship, that’s a pretty big achievement for your career.
PJ: Yea for sure, it was maybe not the biggest one but it was a very good year for me. I won the European and world championship and it was huge. Three years ago I won the 85cc World Championship and the German championship (ADAC). But for sure I think 2013 was one of the best years in my career.
Gatedrop: Going into the 2013 did you believe you could win the title or what was the plan for you?
PJ: Yea for sure the plan was to win and win all the races because I was also riding the European 125 and I felt strong. During the winter I worked very hard so for sure the plan was to win.
Gatedrop: At the start of last season the plan was to race the emx250 championship, how did those first few races go for you?
PJ: Yeah it was not so good, I suffered a crash in Italy in the first GP when I did MX2 and after that I had problems with the neck and also after three laps I got arm pump. My riding was also very bad but that is why I decided to ride MX2 for the rest of the year to get experience for 2015 and I will keep building the fitness and the speed, step by step it is getting better.
Gatedrop: Earlier in the season you had health problems, can you explain that situation.
PJ: Yeah actually still I don’t know what was wrong but I think it could have been from over training. My body was so weak I had much pain so it was tough.
Gatedrop: What is your opinion of the speed of the MX2 class?
PJ: Every guy is fast and everyone wants to get the best place they can and it’s not so easy like riding the emx125 because the guys there are kinda scared of you but in mx2 no one respects you and it’s not so easy.
Gatedrop: What do you have to say about Jeffrey Herlings then, somehow he can win some motos by over a minute.
PJ: Yeah, he really is a wonderkid (laughs), he’s so fast and so smooth with the bike.
Gatedrop: Next year you have signed a deal to be Jeffrey’s team mate and ride Factory KTM, you must be buzzing about that!
PJ: Yeah, KTM asked me if I want to be his team mate and sure it’s the best deal I could wish for and I was very surprised when they asked me but yeah it’s very, very nice to get this ride.
Gatedrop: You will be working with ten times world championship Stefan Everts!
PJ: Yeah now I am also working with him, for one month I think now. I will work together with him all winter and also with his physical trainers and everyone. They will try to build for me to be champion in the future.
Gatedrop: Going into 2015 what are your expectations or will it be another learning year as you have only rode a few gp’s this year?
PJ: Not the biggest of expectations, I just want to learn and try to get the speed to try and be the top of the class in the future.
Gatedrop: Long term will the plan be to move up to mxgp or would you like to go to America?
PJ: Right now I really don’t know; we will see how it goes but for sure the dream is to go to America but we will see what happens in the future.
Interview by Andy McKinstry
Picture by Ray Archer/KTM images