Red Bull KTM factory rider Jorge Prado is special, we knew that when he decimated the field at the 2018 Motocross of Nations, easily handling AMA 250 and 450 champions Aaron Plessinger and Eli Tomac, but the 2019 version of the Spanish teenager has gone to another level, and his decision to race this years MXoN on a 450 really says something about his resolve.
I won’t go as to say he is another Jeffrey Herlings, because to me, Herlings is the best ever, and I mean on both sides of the Atlantic. But Prado, he has without question the chance to join the all-time greats and win a number of championships in the MXGP class.
When Prado became a two-time World motocross champion and joined an impressive list, with names like Jean Michel Bayle, Hakan Carlqvist, Marvin Musquin, Sebastien Tortelli, Alex Puzar, Trampas Parker, John Van den Berk, Donny Schmit, Steve Ramon, Bill Nilsson, Rolf Tibblin, Bengt Aberg, Sten Lundin, Jeff Smith, Heinz Kinigadner, Fred Bolley and Mickael Pichon. To think he can pass these guys in years to come, which he probably will, is just amazing.
Last weekend, with his victory he could relax and enjoy his success, but we all know riders like Prado don’t just relax and watch their achievements on YouTube, instead he will be working hard, and I am sure on a 450 at some hidden destination in Italy, to go into Assen with the chance of winning. It is a tall order and with Herlings the king of the sand preparing to also win, it would a very special way to end his unbelievable season.
Here is how his weekend went in his own words.
What an amazing season you have had.
Yes, it was a perfect season. I won every GP I raced apart from this one and many motos, many qualification races. I felt really good this year. A good bike set-up and I made a big step up from last year and no mistakes. That is important for the future, to not make mistakes in a championship like this one.
Jorge, explain how you feel?
It has been a perfect season. I won every GP I raced up until now and many motos and many qualifying races. I was feeling very good this year with the bike set-up and physically. My start was OK in the second moto but then I made a small crash and bent the clutch lever. I had to deal with a race without a clutch and passing riders was tough in the beginning. I had to get used to it. I got better and better and at the end of the moto I made very good laps. I was so close to getting Adam on the last lap. I think it was one of the best races of the year and I felt very comfortable in that second moto. I liked the track a lot and it was prepped very well this weekend. Overall, I think I made a clear step from last year to this year: I was riding better. I’m very happy. No mistakes. It’s important to be like that and to keep consistent in a long championship.
How did you feel on Saturday?
I had a very good race today, after a week relaxing on the bike to come here safe and get the title tomorrow. I felt good on the track, feeling better and better. The start was good, very good, but the guy on the inside was one bike in front, and I caught him in the corner, but he pushed me wide. I caught him after two or three laps. I eventually made the pass and slowly made a gap bigger and bigger. I felt good and it is a special weekend.
How do you feel on now compared to when you first rode in Sweden a couple of years ago?
The main difference is I don’t get tired now. I used to get tired easily. I was watching the race this morning and in 2016 I made a good first race and I improved a lot from last year and two years ago. The track was rough, with big ruts.
Motocross of Nations you will race the 450. So, when will you test this bike?
I want to ride it as soon as possible because we don’t have that much time. I have never ridden a 450 before and we need to do some good resting and I go to do the best for the Spanish team, but we will take a good experience for next year and hopefully, we can enjoy the weekend as well.
Were you disappointed with your second race?
No, second moto, I had a bad start, it was okay, I was still top five, and I got to third and made a small crash and my handlebars, and my levers got bent. I tried to put it down, but the mechanics put those bolts too tight. I had to deal with racing without a clutch. Passing riders was difficult in the beginning and I had to get used to it, in braking you need to use the clutch, it is better. I got more used to it and I put in some good laps. I was catching Adam and last lap was very close. I thought I could get him, but it was one of the best races of the year for me. I like the track a lot, they prepped really good. It was fun the second race, just a pity I couldn’t pass Adam.
So finally, and really, when do you get on the 450?
Hopefully as soon as possible I want to ride the 450. We have two races on the 250 and then the Motocross of Nations on the 450, so I want to get on it as soon as possible.