Interview: Jorgo Prado – championship leader and Lommel moto winner!

A year after struggling with Covid at Lommel, who Prado leaves the toughest track on the planet on the podium with a second moto win and a 100 point lead in the MXGP championship, Prado is in control right now and his riding so simply beautiful to watch. Pure precision with every decision. We caught up with the Spaniard to talk about his weekend and his season. Watch or read below.

Jorge, one year ago you looked to be struggling with your health here, now you have won the last moto and are leading the championship by around 100 points, it has been some turnaround from last year, that moto win must really feel satisfying!

Yeah, one year ago we had a tough weekend here, I had the Covid, so I was fighting through that, it’s the worst thing you can have as a rider and I remember it was over 30 degrees, it was just horrible. Look as us now, we improved on the technical side, I improved also the physical side and won the second moto in the toughest race of the year. 

We improved during the weekend, on Saturday we made too many mistakes. The first moto I made a mistake in the second corner and that maybe cost me probably another race win because I was up front and I am very good in the sand when I am up front and I had to deal with coming through the pack and I still  got third in the last lap, it was a consistent race and second moto, I knew what I had to do, and just brought it home so I am pumped.

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You had two really impressive laps, the last lap of race one you went five seconds quicker than Vlaanderen and the lap before Seewer nearly passed you!

Lommel this year was super rough, it’s more about fighting the bumps than riding with flow and pure sand riding (Prado said in the press conference Lierop was a more technical pure sand riding skill track). I just switched on the turbo and went for P3.

Seewer crashed and was just behind me, and I felt I lost rhythm some laps before that and I also made a mistake where I got stuck in the sand, so he was really putting me under pressure. So I was like, I can go to P5 or go P3, I saw Vlaanderen not so far away and I was like, ‘I don’t think he will be expecting me.’

So, I just go almost all in, pulled a good pace, and I caught him, he went outside in the waves and I was like yeah, this is my turn to go inside and go for it. It was a great pass on the last lap and he couldn’t react to it. I’m proud to push to the last lap in the first moto.

The first lap of the second one you did it again, third to first and maybe a five second lead, was that the plan and then control?

The second moto, my plan was to get into first as soon as possible and that’s what I did, when I am first I know how to manage races, especially in the sand. I have won here four times, I think I have the most wins at Lommel! I was waiting for another win this weekend, but couldn’t make it happen. Like I said second moto I made a good gap and stayed safe and controlled it. I rode the race by feeling, not really by pushing or anything just going. I knew if someone could come close in the last laps like Febvre, I had something for him.

You and Jett are leading both championships, both ride really similar, very controlled. Is this the new future and are looking forward to racing him in Ernee?

Yeah, he is also doing very well in the US. This is totally different, I mean look at these bumps, you cannot even look smooth here! It’s just fighting though everything. We have very tough tracks in MXGP, the toughest championship for sure with the highest level. We are doing good, we both have good seasons so it’s good.

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MXPG Belgium 2023, Lommel Rider: Prado

The end of last season did you ever foresee this would be the scenario? The way you caught Herlings before he made the mistake showed me your fitness and strength is there and you seemed to get stronger mid-season?

I mean we are in a good way. We adapt very good this winter, we have been improving race by race. Even this weekend was a great example of how strong I am, winning the second moto. Which something maybe in the past, at the end of the race I would just drop but I still have something in myself. I am happy, we are working hard and I wouldn’t imagine being in this situation one year ago.

The supercross situation, it always seems to be on the horizon, going to America, is it something you really want to do or is WSX something you could do in the next few years once you stop MXGP?

Right now I am super focused on the championship and getting it done. After that we will see, supercross has always been there, but yeah, I am really enjoying my time here and now that I have stepped it up a little bit you enjoy it even more. But it’s hard, racing MXGP is really hard, the tracks are sometimes not so smooth so actually, it’s difficult to enjoy it sometimes, just because the tracks are not super nice but anyway, we have great championship over here and supercross is something I need to think about still.

Are you in contact with Tom or anyone over there to get a feel with what the transition is like? 

Actually not really, I don’t have much contact with anyone over there. I need to wait maybe for Butron to come back and talk with him! He has been going near top five so props to him!

And you are definitely MXGP next year with Gas Gas, that’s the plan?


Interview: Jonathan McCready

Images: Juan Pablo Acevedo