Pauls Jonass has quietly gone about his business in the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, which is actually his first in the premier division, as a torn ACL thwarted his progress in the winter. Adamant that he will build himself back up whilst racing, Jonass is pushing on in the toughest environment each weekend. MX Vice editor Lewis Phillips caught up with him to discuss that on Sunday evening.
MX Vice: I feel like this weekend is kind of similar to the previous ones. You are not one hundred percent and you are building up, but the little glimpses of speed and potential are there. Those make me believe that, once you are at your best, good things are going to happen.
Pauls Jonass: Yeah, for sure. Maybe really when you look on the paper then you will not see the improvements, starting from Argentina, but with the riding and everything it is just getting better. We learn a lot about the bike and also about riding the 450F, especially in the racing situations. It is really important just to have races. All the guys had pre-season races and stuff like that. This is only my third race this year and third race with a 450F, so I still need to learn a lot.
At least this weekend I had, in the second moto, a good fifteen minutes, then I started to make a few mistakes and lost the confidence with the track and the riding. I dropped back again, but at least the speed was there for a few laps. Let’s say for half a moto now. We just need to keep working, because I still have not had so much time on the bike… Especially racing time. I think after Arco there is some time off and we have one month to really work on that. I think after that we will make a good improvement.
Was this weekend the toughest round for you? The sand is obviously going to be tough when you are not one hundred percent. Were either Argentina or Matterley more difficult for you?
It is hard to say. I would say that, so far, all the GPs have been tough for me. There have not been any good GPs of course. Argentina… I just really enjoy racing there always. The track was really nice, like always. I like to race there. I like the track at Matterley and here also, but it is just tough when you are not one hundred percent and you are battling with top guys in the world… The fastest guys. Especially now when you see the mid-pack we are racing.
It is so close. It really depends how you take the start and how aggressive you are in the first laps, because you can be sixth or you can be fifteenth place. All the guys are riding really fast and they are going strong. I still need to learn that aggression for passing, because those guys are going nuts. Sometimes I am feeling that they are going to kill me. I have feeling that they want to send me back to MX2.
I guess that is another positive thing, though. Speed is good, like we said, and the potential is good. Your starts have been quite good as well. If you can keep starting around sixth and seventh, then good things are going to happen once you are back to one hundred percent.
I will not say that sixth or seventh place is good. Obviously, we are really focused on that to improve. That is not where we want to be. For sure, we want to be in top three on the start. If I get a top-three start, then I think after I can ride a bit more of my own race. I would just be up front and ride with the guys to learn the speed, to learn the lines and overall to learn the pace. That is really important for me this year. That also was my main goal before the season, to really learn the MXGP class.
How close are you to one hundred percent now then? How long is it going to take you to get there, do you think? Do you think you could be really close to that at Mantova?
Yeah. I really hope. Now after Arco we have almost a one-month break, then I will do two Dutch Masters between and that is always good racing time. I really work hard to be one hundred percent in Mantova. At the moment I think I am maybe seventy percent, because I have not had so much time on the bike. All of the other guys I am battling, they have like four or five times more bike hours than me. That means a lot. Just like I said, I need to learn more about the 450F and just get more confident on the bike to ride looser.
That means a lot not just with conditioning, but also testing. You missed a lot of testing time. I am guessing you are even playing catch-up with that and will be until you are at full speed.
For sure. I have not done real testing this year, only maybe one time we did it, because now the most important thing was to get hours on the bike and get the feeling. Once I am getting a little bit in a better pace and in better shape, we are going to start testing more and more to really get to that one hundred percent as soon as possible.
Are you frustrated at the moment finishing eleventh and twelfth or do you kind of get it and respect the fact that you could have even missed the first couple of GPs?
Yeah, actually, I would not be racing here if I would follow the doctor and the physio really… Even here! It is only six months after the surgery where you usually can only start riding. Already I have done three GPs, but for sure I am frustrated. I am not happy where I am finishing at, but there are always positives. There are always negatives. I try to be positive and stay positive, but of course we need to learn and improve. This is not where we want to be. We want to be up front and we want to get there as soon as possible, so we need to work really hard. There are going to be many tough days at the office.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX