Catching up with: Pauls Jonass!

With Jeffrey Herlings moving up to the MXGP class and Dylan Ferrandis heading to America, the MX2 World Championship was wide open for the 2017 season. One of the favourites coming into the season for the title was Pauls Jonass and he has handled the pressure of being a championship contender very well.

Jonass has always had speed since stepping up to the MX2 World Championship but in previous years suffered from some pretty big crashes. In 2017 Jonass looks like a completely different rider and is riding very smooth.

With Seewer grabbing victory in Italy, Pauls has got his points gap cut to thirty-eight points which is still a comfortable gap. You win the championships on your bad days and even though Jonass didn’t feel totally comfortable out there he still managed to win the second moto to end his weekend on a high.

We decided to catch up with Pauls to talk about his impressive season so far.

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Gatedrop: Pauls, another podium for you, can you just talk me through your moto’s?

Pauls Jonass: Yeah, you know, yesterday and today I didn’t feel so good. I was battling with the track and didn’t get the flow that I like to ride with. I got a really bad start in the first moto, I think I was seventeenth or something around the first corner. It was a tough moto with the heat and track, it was not easy. I burnt too much energy at the start of the first moto battling with the guys and trying to pass them.  I still finished sixth but I was not happy with that.

We made good improvements for the second moto, with the bike and with myself. I got the holeshot and then I could ride my own race straight away from the first lap so I pulled the gap and then tried to control the race. It was really good to win the second moto and to go to the next GP with a good feeling. After the first moto I was not happy and a little bit disappointed I would say. That’s racing though, you won’t always have good days. I think this was a day when I win the points and not lose them because I didn’t feel so great.  I am really looking forward to the next GP in Portugal, I like the track and hopefully we will be good over there.

Gatedrop: You said you made changes it between the moto’s, what exactly where those changes? You looked like a different rider in the second moto!

Pauls Jonass:  You know, mostly I just changed things with myself with the thinking and everything. The team did some improvements to the suspension, the WP guys did a good job but honestly they didn’t change too much. Mostly I just changed myself and changed my riding style, I started to ride a little bit more loose. That helped a lot because the track was brutal, also with the weather as it was hot and humid so it didn’t make it so easy.

Gatedrop:  With Ferrandis and Herlings moving out of the class this year the class was pretty open, obviously, you were one of the favourites but pressure comes with that. You must be happy with how everything is going so far?

Pauls Jonass:  Yeah, you know last year after my crash in Loket when it finished my season I changed a lot mentally with myself. I think from that time last year I am a completely different rider now, we have started working with Marc De Reuver with the riding. I have a really good team now around me, the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team, my physical trainer, Willy Linden, Marc De Reuver, my manager, my dad, the whole team and everyone that helps me– I feel really good and it’s like one big family.  It’s helping a lot because if you are happy then the riding will go good and that’s really important.

Gatedrop:  In moto’s this year at times you have been put under a lot of pressure, but you look very mentally strong – you make it look easy to ride under pressure but it must be pretty hard?

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Pauls Jonass:  Yeah, for sure. But I try to focus only on myself. I don’t look to other riders to say what they are doing or how they do it or whatever. I focus on myself and it’s been helping a lot this year, I think you can see it in the results because when you look at the championship points it’s quite consistent. The main goal coming into the season was to be consistent and not make any big mistakes like last year. When you lose many points it’s difficult to win the championship like that. It’s better to settle for a fifth or a sixth like I did in the first moto than crash and lose the points.

Gatedrop: The position you are in now, surely the goal is to be world champion and if you aren’t it’ll be a big disappointment?

Pauls Jonass: You know, the season is still long. We still have a lot of races to go but I will not change anything. I will just focus on myself, I don’t look to the points at the moment. Maybe when the season comes towards the end I will look at the points.  For now I will just focus on myself, keep building and getting better. That’s the main goal, I want to get better and improve race by race.

Gatedrop: When Tim Gajser won the MX2 World title the year after he went straight into the MXGP class, do you see yourself following him or staying in the MX2 class for another year?

Pauls Jonass:  You will never know what could happen. In motocross it’s not easy but we will see. I don’t want to say now but I think we will stay in MX2 for one more year for sure.

Gatedrop:  When you look to the MXGP class, you must get pretty excited to race the best class in the world in the future?

Pauls Jonass:  For sure. When you look to the MXGP class there are so many guys that can win a GP or a race. It’s really exciting to go and race with those guys in the future but I still need to learn a lot. When you see Tony or Jeffrey riding and the top five, they are riding really strong so I still need to get better and stronger to battle with them.

Gatedrop: How would you compare the level in the MX2 series this year compared to the last few years? Obviously a few guys have moved out of the class but the EMX guys have come in and looked good!

Pauls Jonass:  You know the years before it was pretty much Jeffrey just dominating the MX2 World Championship so I think this year for the spectators, the fans, the media the racing is much better in MX2 because there are many guys who can win a race or win a GP so I think it’s much better for the championship. Also when you look at the MXGP class it’s very competitive, it’s better for motocross and for the media and everyone else.

Pic: Alex Piantanida