Former MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass will step up to the MXGP class in 2019 with the Kimi Raikkonen-backed IceOne Husqvarna outfit as Dirt Bike Rider predicted in early September.

The news on Jonass and his new two-year deal came in a press release from Husqvarna Motorcycles today but no further details were offered as to his team-mate. Expect to see an announcement in the coming weeks – we’ve heard that Arminas Jasikonis could be Jonass’ team-mate when the gates first drop for the 2019 MXGP season on March 10 at a to-be-confirmed venue.

“I’m really excited to be part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team,” said Pauls Jonass in a press release.

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“The switch to the MXGP category is a big move for me but I can’t wait to get started. Joining such an acclaimed team gives me a huge amount of motivation to continue working hard in order to achieve my goals. I’m looking ahead to a great future with the team.

“I’ve known Antti [Pyrhönen] and the rest of the team members for some years already and it feels good to start working with them,” added the 21-year-old Latvian. “Following my knee surgery last month, my goal right now is to start riding my Husqvarna at the earliest possible time. I want to maximise my time on the bike, so I can be fully fit and ready to enter this exciting new season in the MXGP category.”

Pauls Jonass has been one of the most successful 250cc class riders in recent history. With the 2017 season being the highlight of his career to date, that season Pauls reached the podium in 15 out of the 19 rounds which secured his MX2 world title.

Jonass had a tough battle on his hands in the 2018 MX2 championship as he went head to head with Red Bull KTM team-mate Jorge Prado. In the end, injury and Prado won out with Jonass missing the final round in Imola, Italy as he elected to undergo knee surgery. Although he missed the season finale, he had amassed more than enough championship points to take the MX2 runner-up spot.

Other career highlights were the 2011 85cc Junior World Championship title and then followed two years later with the 125cc Junior Motocross World Championship.

Read on to see what Kimi Raikkonen and the team had to say…

Diego Clement – Head of Motorsport at Husqvarna Motorcycles: “We are extremely happy to have former MX2 World Champion Pauls Jonass join our team. We truly believe Pauls has the potential to become a frontrunner in the extremely competitive MXGP category. Pauls is one of the most experienced motocross racers of his generation and already a three-time World Champion. His speed is never in doubt, and he has impressed us, as he has the wider motocross community, with his ability to perform on varying track conditions. It’s going to be an exciting new season and we are all looking forward to seeing Pauls do battle against the MXGP class elite aboard our FC 450 machine.”

Kimi Raikkonen – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing (IceOne) team owner: “With Pauls joining our team the goal is to continue our success. The Motocross World Championship is the most competitive global motocross series and we’re pleased to be strengthening our team with a former World Champion. I am confident all members of our team will give their best to help Pauls achieve his goals in the MXGP class.”

Antti Pyrhonen – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing MXGP team manager: “We are all looking forward to working with Pauls Jonass as he starts an exciting new chapter in his professional motocross career. Everyone knows Pauls is an extremely hard working rider, which we know will help him fit in perfectly with our team. Already being a world champion speaks volumes about his capabilities. He is both physically and mentally strong and has demonstrated time and again that he is able to excel even under the toughest conditions. We all can’t wait to start working with this young and extremely talented rider.”

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