Interview: Jorge Prado – world champ at 17!

Jorge Prado had a dream year in 2018.

Winning his first ever world title at just 17 years old after a tough battle with his teammate and reigning world champ, Pauls Jonass, the Spaniard then went to Red Bud and won his class, beating both US champions!

The intelligent and technically gifted Spaniard spoke to Tom Jacobs at the EICMA show to discuss his year, training with Tony Cairoli and offered an insight into what makes him tick and the dedication it has taken from an early age to reach the top.

What was the worst advice is you were ever given?

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My first year in European 65 the second moto, my dad told me told me to wait to everyone had went and then go up the inside, so I wanted to seconds and let everyone go and I was still round the first corner!

Spain is about MotoGP and road racing, did you consider it a disadvantage to be doing motocross?

No it’s a sport that I really like, if you can get into GP it’s a big
Sport but I like motocorss it’s no problem.

Prado celebrates his first world title. Pic: Ray Archer

How is it dealing with the attention?

It’s good because we worked really hard and got the title, we get more interviews for motocross in Spain, some big channels and they get to know a bit more of this sport.

Is that something you like to do?

I do my best, at the end of the day we are motocross riders we have to go riding and training but when we can it’s good to help make this sport bigger, it’s also good for us.

How would you describe yourself?

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I am a hard working guy, I enjoy riding the bike and that helps the riding comes nice.

How was it moving to Belgium?

Moving to Belgium was a great step, riding sand and where all the GP riders where training. Now I’m in a Rome and riding with Tony, everyday we ride together and training. He has very good speed, so it’s good for me to have him as a reference. He is a rider that has a lot of talent but he enjoys riding the bike and having a lot of fun.

Did your whole family moving to Belgium for you, did that put pressure on you?

For sure, you want to do your best and get results. Everyone is putting a lot of effort in and you want to give something back.

Prado took the points lead at Loket. Pic: Ray Archer

Do you get nervous before the race?

When you do the homework you don’t need to be afraid, you already did what you had to do. For sure you get nervous but you try to stay calm. Everything this year was easier, I was not scared of the two 35 minute motos. When you are 16 and not a professional motocross rider it’s hard and competing against the bst in the world it’s not easy.

Going to the USA, is that still a plan?

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For sure I would like to go and race there one day but for the moment at would like to stay here.

Do you ride supercross?

No not in Europe, if i ride supercross I want to ride real supercross like in California or Florida. When I was there in 2015 I was with the TLD team so I still have come contact with the TK.

Cairoli congratulates his prodigy in the De Carli team, the sensational teenager Jorge Prado. Pic: Ray Archer

Next year it looks like it might be a really boring season!

Well, motocross is a hard sport, I could get injured. You need to be really focused and not make mistakes, it’s never easy.

Who is the best scrubber – you or Tony? I don’t want to say anything, he surprises me sometimes so I don’t want to say!

What does Tony do during your praise sessions that surprises you?

Sometimes he does a lap so fast I can’t believe it, or taking strange lines, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s not but it’s creative. Getting the help of Claudio De Carli was big for him but if you have the talent he has and work as hard as him you will get results.

What do you think about Pauls going 450 now? He could have stayed for one more year?

I think if I was him I would have stayed. He has his reasons for leaving and going 450 I think he felt good on the bike so maybe it’s good for him to go 450. I think he will do good, he is a good rider and a hard working guy.

Pic: Youthstream

What do people not realise about pro motocross riders?

We are real athletes, we don’t just ride the motorbike, we train. We are hard working guys, we suffer!

The biggest difference between Spain and Belgium when you arrived?
The food! They always put sauce in, they don’t do that in Spain so that took a while to get used to. Where I lived in Spain it rained a lot anyway, maybe more than Belgium – like England. I had one track I rode all the time.

What do you think about the tracks in the world championship?

I think they are really good, we maybe miss more old school tracks.

What would you do if you weren’t a motocross rider?

I would still ride motocross ( as a hobby)! I would maybe do cycling or triathlon. I would maybe work in a bank in investment (Jorge studied Economics and mathematics in school).

What would be your advice to a young Jorge Prado?

If you like this sport and you want to be world champion, you need to put everything in, everything on the table.