Interview: Arnaud Tonus

Arnaud Tonus is back in the MXGP paddock after two years competing in America. Unfortunately, throughout his time in America he struggled with injuries and health problems. He is now back in the MXGP paddock for the 2017 season and it’s his first year on the 450cc.

Tonus is with the Wilvo Yamaha outfit and he already looks at home on the 450cc. He has already got himself on the box this season with a third overall in Italy. As he keeps adapting and getting used to the bigger bike he should only continue to improve as the season progresses.

We sat down with Arnaud to discuss his time in America and to be back in the MXGP paddock after the Valkenswaard GP.

Gatedrop: Arnaud, you’re back in the MXGP paddock this year, how is everything going so far?

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Arnaud Tonus:  The season is going pretty good so far. I mean I’ve had my up’s and down’s so far but overall I am happy. There is a really good team around me and I have a good bike too so I am really happy to be around here racing in Europe again.

Gatedrop: At the last GP you got a podium with a third overall, it must have been good to get back on the box?

Arnaud Tonus: Yeah, I felt that in Mexico I really started to step it up with a fourth overall and then I got on the podium in Arco. This weekend my speed was pretty good but had bad starts, not a great result but I felt like I give it my all. I have some work to do with getting better starts and then I think I will be up there at the front.

Gatedrop:  Your time in America was pretty tough for you due to health problems, how frustrating was that and are you back 100% healthy now?

Arnaud Tonus:  Yeah, I was very frustrated, especially when you decide to go there and live the dream, when you have some health issues it’s not easy to accept. To go through all that was difficult but I think I have to just take the positives, I learnt a lot and anyway, it was the experience I wanted to go so I am happy I made it happen. Now I am focused on what’s in front of me and that’s racing in Europe on a 450. I am pretty happy with how it’s going so far, I just need to adjust a few things and then it will be good.

Gatedrop:  Do you feel like America never really got to see the real Arnaud Tonus due to the health problems?

Arnaud Tonus: Yeah, definitely. I was sick for a long time and then I also had an injury with my shoulder so it made it tough on me. It’s just part of it and we have to deal with all that. I didn’t have it the best but it is how it is and I just have to focus on what I’m doing right now.

Gatedrop:  What’s the level like in MXGP this year? When you last rode in MX2 you were consistently beating guys like Gajser and Febvre but now they are right at the front of MXGP.

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Arnaud Tonus: Well, I have been battling with those guys. In Arco I was fighting with Gajser but everyone is so close, it’s not just those two guys. The top ten, top twelve is really stacked so you have to bring your ‘A’ game every single weekend.  It’s not easy but it’s definitely a cool championship and very challenging.

Gatedrop:  When you saw Febvre move up to MXGP and win the title as rookie is there part of you that wishes you moved straight up instead of going to America as you could have did what Febvre did?

Arnaud Tonus:  Yeah, but I think it was pretty exceptional what Romain did that year. I think we haven’t really recognised what he has done, it was a huge thing. Now I think this year the class is a little bit more compact, many guys are at that level so you need to have great starts and be on your ‘A’ game.  It’s a rookie year for me and I will take whatever I experience as a learning curve and just try to be better every weekend.

Gatedrop: At the end of the championship where do you see yourself and where do you want to be in the championship standings?

Arnaud Tonus:  At the moment I am ninth in the championship but I think I am pretty far away from the top five in the championship so I don’t really know. I will take it race by race and try to be at 100% to see what I can do. I am not really thinking too much about the end of the season yet.

Pics: Nigel McKinstry