Pauls Jonass: Wants to be close to the top in 2022

Former MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass started 2021 in the top three and finished the year back on the sidelines with injury but the Latvian’s second full season in the premier class represented an affirming return to Grand Prix racing after a ruinous 2020.

Jonass was 2019 MXGP Rookie of the Year after making three podium appearances and swiftly learned the intricacies of the 450 after recovering from knee surgery during the winter of 2018. A training crash during the pandemic lockdown caused him to almost the entire condensed Covid-19 affected 2020 campaign. The likeable 24-year-old moved to the Standing Construct GASGAS Factory Racing team for 2021 and, after an impatient approach to a long off-season, began the year eager to make up for lost time.

“I was surprised because in my first GP after so long I finished 3rd in the second moto, which was pretty good,” he said of his GASGAS debut (only the second year for the Spanish brand in MXGP) at the Grand Prix of Russia in June. “I didn’t doubt my speed and we had a good winter but maybe the other guys had yet to work their way into good shape. But the speed was there, even if it was an up-and-down season. I still made rookie mistakes. On paper this was my third year in MXGP but in 2020 I only made two races and in 2019 I was struggling with my knee.”

Jonass would take the MC 450 F to the overall top three at the Grand Prix of Belgium but, on the whole, the campaign was inconsistent. He ended the year 8th in the standings and missed the last two events at Mantova due to a rib injury.

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“When you skip one year of racing it is hard to come back and get the confidence to be with the front guys again,” he assessed. “It has been a building year and I’ve been mostly healthy, which is a good thing. It’s been a long one. I was full-gas from November because I had missed so much and I was ready for March but then they postponed until May, then June. It hasn’t been easy, and I started to feel it mentally by the time of Arco.”

#41 was typically positive, even though he missed out on the Mantova finale. 2022 will see Jonass back in white as the Standing Construct team change brands for the third time in four years, moving from KTM in 2018 to GASGAS and now Husqvarna for 2022.

“It’s been a really competitive season but, overall, I’m really happy with where we are at,” he concluded. “I wanted to use 2021 as a building year to be close to the top in 2022.”

Words: Adam Wheeler

Pic: GasGas