Aaron Plessinger made some bold claims at the final round of the US National championship when he claimed he didn’t think any of the GP riders could beat him and that Star racing teammate Ferrandis was his only threat.
“Obviously Herlings is killing it over there right now,” said pre- race favourite Plessinger when asked about the GP riders. “In the 250 class they have some really good guys but I think Ferrandis was battling with Herlings over there before he came over here and he is honestly the only guy that I see as a really big threat.”
But you underrate new MX2 world champion Jorge Prado at your peril.
He took on reigning MX2 world champ Pauls Jonass his own teammate and won. He wasn’t intimated all year and their final battle ended with Jonass on the deck after move by Prado to retake the lead.
The clash wasn’t intentional, but Prado’s intentions to show who the best rider that day and this year were. He had dealt with an injury at the beginning of the season and didn’t panic when Jonass won six motos in a row, he hunted Jonass down in the championship and became the target, yet he still kept winning despite the new pressure of being championship leader. Nothing fazed him.
Extremely talented but very smooth, technical, calculated and cool under pressure, at just 17 years old Prado is probably more naturally gifted than the always smiling and friendly Plessinger, but he doesn’t have the experience of Red Bud or the comfortable home surroundings that the tall and chilled Plessinger will have this weekend. That is where Plessinger has the advantage.
It’s a fascinating match up, Plessinger is for real, you don’t win a supercross title and a motocross championship in the States without having something special. Pressure hasn’t affected Plessinger this year, but this will be his first MXoN and he has already stated he expects to win his class in front of the home crowd.
How he handles the pressure of the event and the speed and starting ability of Prado will be interesting. Given the event is on his home turf at Red Bud, Plessinger will rightly start as favourite in his backyard but the rest of world won’t be surprised of Prado or another leading GP contender (Lawrence, Vlaanderen or Watson) ends up winning MX2 on Sunday – even if US champ Plessinger might be.