The MX2 class has the potential to be very exciting this season as the young guns find their feet in their second season in the class against the more experienced Pauls Jonass.
But the reigning world champ, Jonass, has to start as favourite. Not only does he have the raw speed, he has the consistency and the ability to perform without mistakes when someone is right on his back wheel for the entire moto. The guy is impressive and doesn’t always get the credit he deserves for his talent and speed, for me Jonass is on the same level as Tim Gajser in the raw talent department. The only question is will the weight of the number one plate and defending a title weigh heavy on his shoulders?
It is something Jonass is aware of, “There is definitely some extra pressure on my shoulders,” Jonass reveals. “Everyone keeps telling me that it is harder to defend the title than to win it the first time. I’m not thinking about the long objective so much at the moment and just focussing on my training and my riding.”
So far Jonass has been in good form pre-season but the first big test will be this weekend in Argentina.
But the champ has some very motivated competition. His pseudo teammate Jorge Prado has moved out of the MX2 KTM awning and moved across to Cairoli’s De Carli team, in order to free himself from sharing a truck with a title rival as well as appearing to be more comfortable with Cairoli’s crew. Prado was getting stronger as the season went on last year but hasn’t ridden a pre-season reason so it will be interesting to see where he stacks up at Argentina. But with his starts and improvement on the hard-pack, the confident and ambitious as well as sensationally talented Prado, will be going for the world title – as long as he can survive the GP races with hot and humid conditions.
Hunter Lawrence had all the hype at the end of last season with his performances at the end of the season and beating Osborne at the Nations and he will surely come in as the man who will most likely challenge Jonass in many peoples’ minds. Lawrence is good on all conditions and as his former boss, Stefan Everts, said, “ He is a super talented rider and he is a very ambitious guy, he really wants it. I think he has a realistic chance this year to go for the championship. “
Lawrence has been impressive this season already on the Honda, taking two moto wins in pre-season and seems very happy on the 114 Motorsports Honda team run by Livia Lancelot. With the tools and the talent, Lawrence has all he needs to win the title, but the pressure is on as this is his last chance at the MX2 world title as he is going USA for 2019.
Thomas Kjer Olsen always comes under the radar despite finishing third in the world championship in his rookie season. Unfortunately for Olsen his best races came at the start of the year while Lawrence came on strong at the end so Olsen probably not getting the coverage he deserves. But this kid is good, very fast but smooth and consistent he maybe doesn’t have the ‘wow’ factor of Lawrence or Prado, but he is good everywhere and with a year under his belt, expect him to be stronger throughout the season.
Olsen believes he can be world champ this year and if he can sustain his early season form throughout the season in 2018 there is no reason why he shouldn’t be in the mix.
Finally there is Thomas Covington, the American won the final GP of the season in France but then tore his ACL at the Nations. Covington though has been back on the bike for over a month and should be in decent form for Argentina and really on top form by mid-season. If Covington can get through the first couple of rounds with solid points he has the confidence, the speed and now the experience to go for America’s first world title since 1994!