Red Bull KTM Factory Racing clinched the FIM MX2 Motocross World Championship and completed the sweep of the 2017 MXGP series with Pauls Jonass taking his KTM 250 SX-F to fifth position overall at the Grand Prix of Pays de Montbeliard last weekend.
The 20-year-old became the first Latvian to wear an FIM MX crown when he recovered from a second turn crash to finish fifth in a wet opening MX2 moto at Villars sous Écot. His exciting charge was typical of the consistency, speed and determination that the #41 has shown this season on the way to 15 podium appearances and 6 victories from the 19 rounds. He led the rest of the MX2 pack from round five onwards.
Pauls Jonass is the latest in a decorated line of seven KTM MX2 World Champions since the manufacturer won the inaugural year of the class in 2004. His name joins the roll of Ben Townley, Tyla Rattray, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Jeffrey Herlings and Jordi Tixier and extends the Red Bull KTM crew’s impressive streak from 2008, in which the Austrian manufacturer has won every MX2 title bar one.
Last week KTM captured first and second positions in the MXGP division with Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings respectively. The Austrian brand concludes an outstanding season with the manufacturers’ championship in both the MXGP and MX2 classes.
“It has been my dream since I started riding to be world champion and I accomplished that in the first moto,” said Pauls Jonass, who confirmed he is likely to be the first rider since Marvin Musquin in 2010 to run the #1 plate in the class for 2018. “I made it tough for myself by crashing in the second corner then got up, cleaned everything and crashed in the next corner! I started from dead last, but could finish fifth for the championship. Fifteen podiums from nineteen is a pretty good season and I’m looking forward to some holidays! I’m also happy to finish the year without injury so we can go straight into preparing for 2018 after some time off.”
Jonass has elected not to contest the 71st Motocross of Nations in two weeks’ time at Matterley Basin in the UK, although teammates Jorge Prado, Jeffrey Herlings, Tony Cairoli and Glenn Coldenhoff will be present.
Dirk Gruebel (KTM MX2 Team Manager): “We have an amazing record in the class and Pauls did a fantastic job today to keep that running. Over the years we’ve proved that it is not only the bike, because a number of riders have won championships, even a dark horse like Jordi Tixier in 2014. But Pauls this year rode so well. He made it a little bit too exciting at times! The start of the year was a bit rocky with that bad luck in Indonesia in round two but he stayed calm and began collecting points. He was just so consistently on the podium. It was an outstanding job and we’re really happy.”
Joel Smets (KTM Motocross Factory Racing Sports Director): “I think it is easy to see that the guys that deserved the championship ended up with the title. In MX2 it was not a surprise at all because we saw two years ago that Pauls had the speed and the skills so we had a good bet for the title. We were aiming for the crown and he proved he was up to the job. MXGP was a bit different but not a shock for me because I spent quite a bit of time with the group in the winter, Tony included of course, and I could see that the boy wasn’t done! Even before the first Italian championship and through the training camp in December as he improved I could see it. Not many people were keeping an eye on Tony but it was clear he still had the determination, motivation and ambition. This year’s achievements are testament to the hard work of the riders, our team and of course everyone working towards this at the KTM Factory.”
Pit Beirer (KTM Motorsport Director): “In some of the toughest conditions our guys really came through to deliver once again. Myself and the whole of the company cannot be prouder of our record in the MX2 class in the last ten years and that is thanks to a fantastic motorcycle, a team that is just as good and a series of exceptional riders that we have been able to work with and take such pleasure in their development to world champions. Pauls has put together a season of consistency that we knew was possible from his very first year with us. I’ve always had a lot of trust and confidence in him and his capability: I knew he would be a world champion one day. His maturity and skill in all conditions was the difference over the rest this season and when he faced some difficult moments he was still able to make the right result. Congratulations to all the guys, 2018 will be closer than we think but together with our achievements in MXGP it is now time to enjoy all we’ve worked for.”