Pauls Jonass had a tricky time of it at the Grand Prix of France this past weekend, but things could have been so much worse. Jonass did well to recover on a track that did not exactly prompt passing. However, despite the fact that he salvaged a sixth, he lost twelve points to Jorge Prado and now leads the series by sixteen points.
MX Vice: Solid day for you. It could have been better but, considering where you were in that second moto, I think you recovered really well.
Pauls Jonass: I would not say so. I am quite disappointed about the day. Yesterday I rode really good and felt really good, but today the track changed a bit. I did not find my flow really in the first race. I got a bad start and just actually struggled all the race. In the second race the riding was better, but I just got a holeshot and then missed the line a little bit on the exit of the corner.
The front went in one line, the rear in another one and then I crashed. I came back from way back to sixth place. The riding was better in the second moto. It is still disappointing lose so many points in one GP, especially that I like this track. I felt good Saturday, just today did not really go good. I just managed to get still some decent points on a bad day.
Sixth in the second moto was a really good recovery. Did you think that you could get that high up? Obviously, with it being a mud race, it was a little one-lined in sports. Are you surprised you did as well as you did?
Yeah. It was actually really difficult to pass. In many places you had to follow slower guys. It was difficult to pass, but still managed to get to sixth which was pretty good in those conditions. But, still, if I would not crash it would be way better, so I am really disappointed about the crash in the second race. The riding was way better than the first moto, so that was a good thing.
I guess this is kind of easier to take as well because the last two rounds have gone really well for you. Obviously, Jorge [Prado] was really fast at Matterley Basin, but you put a stop to that and extended your lead, and at Teutschenthal you maintained the gap. All in all, this is going really well for the championship.
Yeah. When you look at today’s race, I lost twelve points in the championship, which is quite a lot. Still we have a long season ahead. We are halfway only now, so there are still many races. Still everything can happen. I am looking forward for the next GPs. We go to Ottobiano. Hopefully it is going to be as hot as last year to make it tougher. I am really looking forward for the next races.
Obviously, the start was important here with the conditions and everything. It seemed like the outside gate was quite good. It was a harder spot, but obviously a bigger risk, so did you consider going out there at all?
Yeah. I know for MX2 races they closed the first three and three gates from the outside, so that was not really an option. Jeffrey [Herlings] took a holeshot the first race from the outside, but then for MXGP all gates were open and the outside was completely hard. If you take the fourth gate from the outside, it was really soft. It was a very long way. Still in the second race I got a holeshot after a long time, which I was really happy about. Before the first moto I was looking to the outside, but you do not want to take that risk. The fourth gate from the outside was not so good anymore, like I said, like complete left side.
Overall, how are you feeling with the championship pressure this year? Last year was your first year in that spot so it was all new and I am sure there were much more nerves. Do you feel a little calmer this year and like you know what you need to do to get the job done?
Yeah, I think so, for sure. I am not really feeling the pressure or anything. I am feeling good. I am not thinking about the championship really because, like I said, it is a long season ahead. I am not putting pressure on myself and the team is not putting pressure on me. I just want to go race by race and just do my best every weekend.
It seems like silly season is really heating up in the paddock, this weekend especially. Have you made any progress with your plans for next year? I know you are thinking of going up. Have there been more discussions about that?
No, there have not been really more discussions. The goal is to go to the 450s and so far, we keep that as the main goal and the plan.
If you had to bet right now, would you say that you will be in 450s next year or is it kind of up in the air?
Yeah, I think I will be in 450s.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: KTM Images/Ray Archer