Interview: Jesús Prado – talks Jorge’s MXGP title, their relationship, the future and more
It was a very special weekend for the whole Prado family as Jorge Prado delivered his third world title at just 22 years old but this one was special. This is MXGP, the premier class and the one everyone wants to get their name on but it is far from easy.
Jorge has had his fair share of issues since moving up to MXGP whether it be health/Covid issues, injuries but this year was the year it clicked and he landed that MXGP title.
We cough up with his father, Jesús after a very emotional and special day for the family to discuss the amazing season and more…
You can listen or read below:
GateDrop: A special day, I think you’ll remember this day forever! First of all, you must be very proud of your son in what he did all season long and to deliver the title this weekend, special…
Prado: For sure, a really special day. It is like your dream, when you start Motocross you expect to dream to win the MXGP class and today it happened. This year has been really good but also really tough on the other side. Pffft such a big gap in the middle of the season, to keep the gap it was really stressful for Jorge and the family. Every race you cannot push too much because you have a lot to lose and nothing to win. But at the same time you have to give but it is really really stressful.
GateDrop: Just after that first moto, how did you feel watching it all unfold? You’ve been with him from the first day through thick and thin, for him to deliver his first MXGP world title and the aftermath with the partying going on here and everything else, crazy!
Prado: To be honest, we didn’t expect. Pfft, it was a really strange situation with the first moto. The guy that I expect to be more relaxed should be Febvre to be honest. Jorge was really nervous the first moto because it was the first race he had the chance of the title, the plan was just to be close to Febvre and that is it. But then he messed up big time but also compensated because Turkey was a disaster for us. And before that every moto, every race he was really good, only Turkey I don’t know what happened but two bad moto’s. Maybe this was a present for us to compensate for Turkey with what happened Febvre here, you know?
GateDrop: Going back to the start, fathers usually play a key role in their sons success. Do you remember when it all first started? Did you ever think it would turn into this – travelling the world racing and winning world titles?
Prado: I think nobody expects this, when you start as a hobby rider and for us we started riding trials bikes. It was just for fun and in our place there were no other trials riders and no motocross riders so we go every weekend together close to our home and just riding. From there to win today the MXGP World Championship, I think if you ask every rider in the paddock they will tell you that it is a dream. You read the magazines and then you start to follow riders like Stefan Everts, Ken Roczen or even Jeffrey Herlings, you can dream but nobody knows.
GateDrop: Being a father, it can be tough because sometimes fathers don’t know the right time to take a little step back but it seems like you’ve done a good job with that since Jorge was riding the EMX125 championship let’s say?
Prado: We still spend a lot of time together, we meet every day. We meet for lunch, Jorge is really crazy for example in Rome, to go out with the boat after training. 90% of the days we go together, after training we take the boat together and we go for snorkelling or whatever. Cycling the easy days also because I cycled in my time, I do also that part with Jorge every day that I can. If he pushes during the training then I cannot follow for sure but the easy days, the recovery day.
Every easy day for him is getting a harder day for me (laughs) but that is something I like. We spend a lot of time luckily together but like every father and son, we fight sometimes but that is normal. Every family has a bit of a fight but I am really happy with the relationship we have. Yesterday, Jorge told me I am really happy if I can win the World Championship because in my case it is not only me – it is you and me, both together so I almost cried yesterday (laughs).
GateDrop: It sounds like you have moved from Spain to Italy then, for Europeans that can be quite normal but for people outside Europe I think they forget that… What is it like being in Italy, can you speak much of the language?
Prado: Italian I understand really good, I speak very bad (laughs). But I mean we live the last four years in Rome and I can understand really good Italian but it is quite close to Spanish. It was much harder when we moved to Belgium because Flemish is quite difficult, until now after twelve years living in Belgium I understand only words, that is really tough. But also it was a great experience for us as a family. Jorge went to School there near Lommel and he speaks really good Dutch, my daughter perfect and my wife speaks good Dutch. It is nice to speak different languages, you know?
GateDrop: This is Jorge’s third world title, how does this one compare to the MX2 titles? This is the premier class and the one everyone wants to win…
Prado: I feel more like we have a weight of our shoulders. When we moved to MXGP I can see already that his level was already top. The first year in the MXGP class he won five GP’s straight away, at that point, he was hunting Gajser but he was in front of him at start every time. Maybe we could have challenged for the championship already but then the second year, his level was much better and bike wise and everything. At one point when he crashed together with Jeffrey at Teutschenthal, it was really bad luck. He needed a big operation under his arm and that was the point things went quite bad. Then he broke two vertebrae’s, then he got Covid again for the second time.
I mean since the first moment I expect he can win the championship on the 450cc. On the 250cc, he was so young he was only 17, he was good but you don’t know if you have the level to win the championship. Pauls (Jonass) at that time was on a really high level so I didn’t expect to win the championship straight away but from on the 450cc I saw straight away that he can win the championship. He was sick every year with Covid three years ago, last year with the shoulder, two years ago the crash with Jeffrey, the operation and plus two vertebrae’s broken, he raced with that injury the last three GP’s. Two years ago was for me one of his best years, he didn’t win so much but he was at the front every time, he lacked a little bit physically but he led so many laps. This year the championship was something like we expect and it takes a weight off his shoulders.
GateDrop: Off the track Jorge is very mature, seems to have his feet on the ground and isn’t too cocky but also on the bike he is so smart. He might not be the fastest every race but he is so smart and knows exactly where to put the bike and can read situations so well as well as being good under pressure…
Prado: It is also something that I like, growing up together with Jorge he has been like this since he was a child. He is not a guy to take too many risks, he tries to improve his level training or whatever or skills but he tries to race under his limit every time. This is something I like because normally I am never scared watching him racing, you know? For me it is good. Today for an example in the second moto, he tried the first 18 minutes but Febvre was pushing very hard and Gajser, he just let them go. Then he tried to attach the last three laps but when he was purple, purple he crashed, he tried too much. But it was a nice day to try those things so it is his character. If he was third the second moto he wins the Grand Prix but he was thinking today I want to win the moto but it is no problem.
GateDrop: Jett Lawrence gets a lot of hype and rightly so but I feel Jorge is a similar type of rider. Are you looking forward to them both battling at the MXoN?
Prado: It is a completely different world. When you see the flow that you can get at the American tracks, you can never get that at MXGP tracks. Here it is more about fighting until you need to be more strong than the outdoors in America. In America, you can have a nice moto and win a race but here you need to be the best on the bike. Those guys – to beat Gajser, Jeffrey (Herlings), Febvre… Pfft, it is not the same thing. You really need to fight for that or even Seewer, he is even an animal they never give up.
These tracks you have to attack more, in the US it is nice when you can see them jumping bumps and everything but here you cannot do it, they’re not nice bumps to jump. It is something Jorge is actually really good at but here you cannot do it, you need to break, gas and try to hold the 450cc because the ruts are really bumpy, you need a lot of strength. It is a completely different thing but I really like Jett’s style. I really love this style and I like a lot how he rides a bike.
GateDrop: Just on the future, do you think Jorge’s future is going to be in this paddock? There’s always been a lot of talk about him going to America but are you glad now he didn’t go before now, it’s been worth it to win this MXGP title…
Prado: For sure next year, not. But we have always had this option from KTM to go to the USA for racing. I mean it is more Jorge’s decision to say, I really want to go or to stay here. Now he is also getting only older, he isn’t 17 anymore, he is 22 and next year 23 and for sure not next year. So now is the time to make a career decision if he wants to move or not. The good thing is that he has the skills for Supercross, I mean he has the start, it will even be difficult for anyone in America to get better starts and he is really good with the whoops. If you get holeshot and good on the whoops I think you can be good in Supercross. But you need to change your lifestyle to go.
GateDrop: Last question, will you allow him to have a few beers tonight to celebrate?
Prado: Yes, but tomorrow we go again cycling (laughs).
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Image: MXGP/Infront Moto Racing