Interview: Pauls Jonass – we need to keep improving!

Pauls Jonass has been on fire this year! The Latvian has won the first six motos of the season, the first man to do that since the dominant Jeffrey Herlings in MX2.

This season the Latvian has been able to combine the blistering raw speed we saw a few years ago with consistency and intelligent racing. Jonass appears to have stepped up his level in 2018 and perhaps surprised his competitors, with even Jorge Prado acknowledging the speed Jonass is going at right now and how hard he is to beat!

Jonass is quiet, humble and unassuming off the bike – you would never know that right now he is the fastest MX2 rider in the world, until you saw him on the track. But behind his humility there is a big determination to win and dedication to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals.

Read on to discover why Jonass is so good this year and why he is so good under pressure!

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You have made a really impressive start to the season so far, it looks like you have lifted your level a bit since last year, is that something you were conscious of trying to do?

The start of the season, winning six out of six, I actually didn’t expect but this winter I worked my ass off to be in front again. Everyone was telling me that defending a title is more difficult than getting one. I worked really hard to be the guy to beat for the other ones, so far it’s working good but we just need to keep improving every weekend.

You are so good under pressure, you had challenges from three or four riders today but you didn’t seem to make a mistake. How do you keep you composure when those guys are right on you?

I actually don’t know! When I am racing I don’t think about the other riders, I just focus on myself, I think the focus is the key. I just focus on myself, try not to make any big mistakes, focus on my lines and keep calm, that’s the key I think.

Jonass celebrates Pic: Ray Archer

I saw Harry (Everts) out there with the stop watch, watching you every inch of the way, every lap, every corner and clenching his fists with delight when you crossed the line! How much of a help has he been?

Harry has been a huge help. He has every single lap time since we started working I November, he has everything written down in a book. I can ask him a date and what the fastest lap time was and he will know! He is really into that and I am really happy to work with him, the whole team, my physical trainer Willy, and the whole factory Red Bull KTM team, I feel really at home now.

Last year especially at the end it looked like you were just trying to be consistent, but this year you have stepped up, how much more have you left if you are pushed and are you u closer to 100% of your speed now?

Last year at the end of the season I was struggling with my head, I couldn’t go 100% so much so that was a bad thing. Now, how close am I to 100%? I still think I can improve every weekend, I’m feeling good, but when I need to I can go faster, now we are in a safe way and not making any mistakes and not get injured because the season is long.

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Jonass studies the times Pic: Ray Archer

And the 450 class, are you definitely going there next year and does Jeremy Seewer’s speed there give you confidence?

Not definitely but that’s the goal. I am looking forward to moving to the 450s, those guys are very fast but I like challenges and I would like to battle with those guys, yes!

Have you rode a 450 much?

I rode a 450 this winter for one and a half or two months. I really like the bike, it’s harder to be on top of your game with it because it is so fast, it is a little bit different from the 250 but I enjoy riding it and look forward t moving up.

Interview: Jonathan McCready

Pics: Ray Archer