Arnaud Tonus did it again! Following a horrific start to the 2019 FIM Motocross World Championship, he has turned things around and reeled off five podium finishes in succession. The impressive run continued at the Grand Prix of Germany, held at Teutschenthal, over the weekend and this time he shared champagne with a good friend and teammate, Gautier Paulin. Tonus speaks about that memorable day in this exclusive MX Vice interview from the event.
MX Vice: You did it again! It was just a month ago that getting a podium was the most amazing thing ever and exciting, but now it is just normal. Second overall, which is better than third, but again that has become normal for you.
Arnaud Tonus: Yeah but, to be very honest, I don’t expect even anything. I just go out there and give it my all. I keep this mentality. This weekend was a bit more challenging. We had a tough Saturday. I was fourteenth in the qualifying race and it’s not the easiest start to start from the outside, so I really had to dig deep in that first turn and had a good jump. I was super happy that I was in the top five on the start in both motos and then made my way through.
It was pretty tough having three GPs in a row like this, for the body and everything. It is tough and those conditions this weekend were brutal. The track was so demanding. You had no time to rest or anything. It was tough, but I am happy I went through it and still have some points to work on. It is amazing to keep getting on the podium. It is even hard to realize.
I thought there was no chance of you getting on the podium, purely because of the fourteenth gate pick. I did not see how you were going to get decent starts. Were you surprised that you managed to pull it off in both motos?
Yeah. I didn’t want to think about it, because I was trying to do my best to be on the podium or whatever. For sure, it was not the same mentality as the previous rounds where I had a good qualifying race. I was right inside and even with a bad jump you are still alright. There I had no choice. I really had to jump out front and even make the difference. It was even more demanding mentally, I would say, to overcome the fear or feelings that it might be tough. It feels even better. I’m happy.
You obviously didn’t get a chance to get too close to [Tim] Gajser this weekend and see what he was doing but, on a track like this, do you have any idea what you can do to maybe step it up a level and match him?
Yeah. I was really close in timed practice yesterday on one lap, so I think the speed is there. He Is just really able to find the flow in the motos and often get a holeshot then really go for it on those first few laps. I think he’ll really find his rhythm. We know he is just a great rider. On myself, I still have to learn some stuff and be a bit smoother in some places. I think he was very efficient on playing with the track and changing different lines. I’m happy to be second, but for sure I always have to learn. I will check out the race tomorrow and see where he was better.
You just mentioned how tough it is having three races in a row. Maybe that is something we need to think about with you, because obviously you missed all of last year. Your first year on a 450F you missed five or six rounds and in America you had a lot of injuries. Say you go the full distance and run a full MXGP season at this pace, do you think that maybe you have got to work ahead and make sure you are ready to overcome that?
Yeah, of course, but the work has been done way earlier. I was off the bike for a year, but I was not off physically. I was training a lot on the bicycle last year and tried to really build up endurance that I cannot do when you are doing a season. I was doing stuff that was really extreme for my body, like six hours cycling. Stuff like that that I do not really do when I am riding a dirt bike. I try to build extra endurance by preparing for the season in a bit of a different way.
This was the plus, that I could use my tough time. I had a full winter of preparation. Like you said though, the race is different. It takes a lot more to the body. The adrenaline takes so much more energy than winter preparation. It is just different. I tried to manage it as good as I could. I have my recovery at the right time. I try to be smart and we will see how it goes.
Finally, just talk about this massive Yamaha battle that we have got going on at the moment. It’s quite intense on the track, but then off the track as well you are all competing for contracts because everyone is up. There is obviously a lot going on in the blue camp.
Yeah, true. We might talk about it more, but as a rider I don’t really care whoever is around me. I just want to pass them and do the best I can. On my side, I am super happy with the team at the moment. I hope we can continue together. Everything is going great. Gautier [Paulin] had a great weekend, so I hope we can keep the team like this. It’s pretty much the dream team for us. We train together, are really good friends and have a great atmosphere. Everything is going well. The bike’s working well. Hope we can keep going like this.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX