News 24 Oct 2016

Jonass on track to lead Red Bull KTM's 2017 MX2 assault

Latvian becomes new title hope after Herlings' MXGP switch.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Words: Adam Wheeler

Red Bull KTM’s Pauls Jonass has already started his preparation for the 2017 MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship, in which the 2015 runner-up is expected to be one of the favourites for the title vacated by teammate Jeffrey Herlings.

The Latvian missed the final five rounds of his 2016 campaign due to a horror crash at Loket while leading the Grand Prix of Czech Republic that resulted in a concussion – the latest episode in a spate of spectacular accidents that have proved the resilience of the 19-year-old.

Jonass only climbed back on the KTM SX-F 250 this month after needing to banish the effects of the prang courtesy of an awkward landing on a step-down.

“For sure it took longer than I expected to recover,” he said. “I had the feeling that I could ride again two weeks after the crash, but as soon as I got on the bike I understood that it wouldn’t work out – I felt dizzy, uncoordinated and didn’t have a good feeling at all.”

“I went to a really good neurologist and she said that I needed at least one month to completely recover, so we decided to wait until October and I think it was a positive decision because I have been good on the bike. We are slowly building up now.”

Jonass has enlisted the help of Marc de Reuver, which will see him work with the former grand prix winner in both training and coaching.

“I think with Marc I have found the missing piece of the puzzle,” he continued. “He shows me some new things every time I practice and I like that. He was the king in the sand and tells me about things I would never have thought of.”

Jonass will lead the MX2 Red Bull KTM team in 2017 with rookie Jorge Prado by his side on the works machinery. He scored five podium finishes in 2016 before his untimely get-off, and was challenging for the title with Tim Gajser in the previous term which marked his first full GP year.

The former European champion will have to build up to his previous level of form and potential as he bids to be the Austrian manufacturer’s sixth different MX2 number one since 2008.

“We still have a lot of time before Qatar and we will improve a lot,” he asserted. “Confidence will come with time so I’m really not worried about that.”