Rockstar Energy Husqvarna rider Pauls Jonass might not have started 2019 as he had wanted, due to a major injury in 2018 and a long recovery period, his off-season preparation was to say the least, very poor.
Now, five rounds into the MXGP Championship the Latvian has found his mojo and claimed his first ever podium finish in the 450 class.
Having struggled to make the top three in the first four rounds the Husky riders were put through some difficult training programs, and it seems the hard work paid off in round five at Mantova.
“First of all,” Jonass said. “After Trentino we went on a tough program, tough training and I was feeling maybe 70%, because the training was so tough, and I was so tired I could hardly hold onto the bike in practice. I also got some arm-pump. After Italy we improved the bike a lot and also myself. I just need to get that click and put it together. Once I get that click, then the results also come better and better.”
So finally, close to his best racing condition, Jonass went into last weekend with confidence that a good finish was in the cards. He could never have expected a podium finish though.
“This weekend has been really great. I think the qualification race, even if I didn’t get the result I hoped for, was really important for me. Getting a good start and running close to the front really gave me a lot of confidence, which I took into today’s racing. Of course, the track was muddy, but I like the mud, so I felt good. I didn’t get perfect starts, but I managed to make some quick passes and avoid making any big mistakes. Getting the runner-up result in the first race felt so, so good. The track was a little more one-lined in the second race but again I felt good. I felt like I was a little quicker than Bogers, but I got sideways a few times trying to pass him, so I decided not to take any more chances and just settle down. Getting a good overall result is much more important. To finish second overall, to get my first MXGP podium, to be stood on the box with Cairoli, it’s a very special moment for me. I feel like something has clicked in a positive way now with racing a 450. I’m not at 100% yet but I’m feeling a lot more confident and this result gives me a lot of motivation to keep working hard.”
Now with the MXGP series moving to Agueda, Portugal this coming weekend, Jonass will again reset, and feel confident that his return to the podium will come a lot quicker. The red clay has often been a good stop for the former MX2 World Champion, so don’t be surprised if he also leaves Portugal with a big smile and some champagne.
Photo Copyright: Husqvarna