The Red Bull GasGas Factory Racing rider out of Spain met up with the press this week to talk about what this title means to him and much more.
The Grand Prix of Italy, the eighteenth round of the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship, marked a historic day for Jorge Prado and the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team. Prado was crowned the MXGP world champion with three motos to spare – a dominant campaign put him in a spot to swap ’61’ with a number one plate before the Grand Prix finale.
Words | Press Conference
Prado controlled the championship standings from March 11, 2023, when he won the first qualification race of the new term in Patagonia-Argentina. Qualification proved to be a strength of his – he has clinched ten pole positions out of a possible eighteen, more than triple anyone else. Saturdays have been extremely positive, and that momentum has often served the MC 450F pilot well on race day.
Jorge, MXGP World Champion, it feels quite good to hear this I suppose? Talk to us about the highs and lows of your season, and how it felt to cross the finish line first in the first moto at Maggiora, knowing that you won the title. Is it special because it is not only your first MXGP title but GasGas first MXGP title as well.
Yes, it is something very, very special, for me it is a dream come true. Since I was a kid, my only dream was to be MXGP World Champion. And I think all of the titles throughout the years were kind of preparation for 2023 when I had to opportunity and possibility because I worked, and the team worked, all in one perfect way. So, we had to opportunity to fight for this title and all of the years of preparation helped me to make it happen. When I crossed the finish line and I saw all of my friends, my family, my team, the close people around me, celebrating this title, it meant the world to me because we all know how hard it is to get World Champion. And sometimes you go for years where you think, “It’s never going to happen” or you think it’s very impossible to make it. But I think when you start thinking positive and you wake up every day working hard to get your dream done, I think it is a big advantage. When you love the sport and love what you do, I think it is the most important thing to do to make it a reality. I think the people around me also wake up every day with the dream of becoming MXGP World Champion, so I think that’s why this year we got it done. So, it was super special for me and super special for the team. And having an Italian team and winning in Italy, it was just the perfect place for them as well. So, I proud that I could make it happen for them there. Also, for the brand, for GasGas, the first World title for GasGas and also for Spain, the first ever Spanish guy winning MXGP. So, it was just a combination of so many things that made that day super special, and winning made it even better, even sweeter. I am out of words; the feeling is very difficult to describe.
You obviously have the three titles, Stefan Everts and Jeffrey Herlings were always busy with how many titles they wanted to win, do you have that or are you just taking it year by year?
I never think about titles, obviously when I am racing I try to win but at the end of the day the most important thing for me is to be happy and enjoy my riding and enjoy my bike. When I can do that, I think everything comes together for good results. For the future I don’t think about, “I want to get 11 or 12 pro titles,” I just want to win as much as I can while I am racing and enjoy the moment. I think that’s the most important thing because that’s why we ride motocross because we love it, so, to don’t lose this passion is my number one priority.
So, you won two overalls this year, but 14 motos which was the most of anyone, but most of those moto wins came in the first moto. Why do you think that is that you are so strong in those first motos?
Yeah, it has been a great year, I mean the consistency, and not only consistency but winning, I am the guy that won the most. I won 26 races between qualifying races and motos. I think 14 motos on Sunday plus 11 or 12 qualifiers, so it has been a year where I am feeling better than the rest. And why it’s in the first moto? I don’t know. I won in Lommel second moto, which should be the toughest race of the year. So, I don’t know, I don’t have an answer for this. Maybe if you want in Matterley [MXGP of Great Brittia] I can win the second moto to make a balance of it. [Laughs] No, I am joking. But I just try to win as much as I can, sometimes in second moto I need to get more racey, or I don’t want to risk it, when I can I just need to go for it. It just depends on the situation, sometimes they are better than me. So, we are not all perfect.
Now that you have your world title, are you motivated to race MXGP for years to come, or do you think you will chase other goals, maybe in America?
At the moment my goal is to stay in MXGP. I have been working hard all of these years to get this title. I also said with my team one of my goals is to ride with the number one. And to ride with the number one I need to stay in MXGP. So, it is something that for the next year or so my goal is to ride MXGP. I still see in myself a big marking to improve. And that is something very positive because I can be already World Champion and I feel I can improve in many ways, speed wise. I am only 22 so imagine in a few years. I am just super motivated to keep on working and put myself every year at a higher level. Yeah, America can be an option too but for that I need to try again and see if I like it, or if I like it enough to go 100%. So, I think before I make a decision I need to go and give it a try, and then I can have a clear vision of what I want to do. But at the moment MXGP is my priority.
You achieved this title at a very young age, but still it was your fourth year in the premier class. Did you expect the title to come sooner or maybe even a little later?
To be honest I expected it maybe a little bit earlier, already in 2020, I was at a high level so I was expecting it to be just a little bit earlier. I think it was needed to get all of this experience… I think it just came at the right time. Obviously, you always want to be World Champion every time you go into a season, but this year was just my year. I took it with both hands, and I am very happy to get it done.
Up next for you is the Motocross of Nations, where you will find Jett Lawrence, and for us it will be a great match. I want to know if you are excited to meet him on the track and if you are going to try to beat him or if you are more concerned with the result of the team because Spain has a pretty good team with you and Rubén Fernández and David Braceras.
Motocross of Nations will be interesting this year because Jett is the champion in the USA in the 450 class and I am World Champion. So yeah, I think it will be interesting to see. I will just go for the win, and we will see how it goes, I think we are in a good position. Obviously, it will be good to see a good combination of points and bring Spain as high as possible. A podium may be a little too much but if we all make very good results it’s possible. But talking about myself I just want to go there and win as much as possible. Now that I have the title, I am maybe a little bit more free and can give more gas in the races.
You mentioned that you have a trials background, what skills have you learned on the trials bike that have best helped you on the motocross track?
I think something very important in trials is the feeling you have with the bike. The control of it, so throttle control, front brake, rear brake, clutch. And then knowing where you put the front and back wheels. So, I think that’s something that’s super important in trials and that is a big advantage for me in motocross, I am quite sensible with the bike. And also, the balance that trials gives you it is very important when you come to a rocky track or something in motocross. So, I think trials helped me a lot and yeah to be honest, last off season I have been riding more a trials bike, and hopefully this off season again. During the year it’s very tough because you ride so much on the MX bike that you do not have much time for other things. But I still love riding trials and I think it’s very positive for a motocross rider.