While a lot of talk has been about the MXGP class coming into the opening round of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship, the MX2 class is also looking like it will produce some very interesting races.
Of course, defending champion Pauls Jonass is the favourite for the series, but after a handful of races in the pre-season, it is young Aussie, Hunter Lawrence who has taken the points when the two have met in 2018.
Pre-season will mean nothing when the two collide this coming weekend, but you can be sure, and while it is just the start of a 19-round series, bragging rights are important, and a victory is going to give a lot of confidence into round two in Valkenswaard.
While Jonass is aware of the speed of the Australian rider, he also knows that in a full series consistency is the key. It was his consistent approach in 2017 that won him his first world championship and once again he will try and finish top three as often as possible.
“I was not surprised at all (by Lawrence’s speed),” Jonass said. “I have seen him ride before and I knew he would be good, so it wasn’t a surprise. I saw him at the MXoN, and also in the winter in Spain, so I knew he would be good. I was at the MXoN, and I watched the race. He was riding very good and I know Hunter is good in those conditions when it is muddy and deep ruts, he is good on tracks like that. It was nice to see him ride there. The most important thing for 2018 will be like last year, be consistent and not make any big mistakes. Last year one guy could win a race then get 14th in the second race, so it is all about being consistent.”
As for the respect Lawrence has for the Red Bull KTM Factory rider, he also knows that anyone is beatable, and like the Latvian, knows that throwing it all away in Argentina won’t win him a championship in September.
“I am looking forward to the season,” Lawrence said. “The pre-season doesn’t mean much, and a lot can change when we get to round one, but it gives us good direction and something to work on, and I am going to just keep my head screwed on for the rest of the series. We are comfortable. This bike is already so good, and we are excited how we can do some testing and further it, you know. It has such potential, and Honda has made a great bike and I am excited to go racing.”
But of course, it won’t just be Jonass and Lawrence who will be fighting for the MX2 overall in Argentina, with names like Thomas Covington, Thomas Olsen, Jorge Prado and many more looking to take the victory and more back to Europe with the red plate.