“MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado will remain a Red Bull KTM rider and part of the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship for the next four years, until 2023, after signing a contract extension at the Grand Prix of Germany last weekend,” stated MXGP.com
I was thinking about this on the weekend watching Prado with his 14-second lead, how long would Prado be in the MX2 Class and how would a rider beat the 18-year-old Spaniard. I was thinking about Jeffery Herlings and how he dominated the MX2 class, I bagged Herlings out a lot for being in the class too long and because of his height, a fan could forget how old Herlings actually was. Then Herlings was plagued by injuries which prevented his third World Championship coming sooner. My opinion back then that Herlings should move up, that was based on his race win leads and height.
I’ve been around the Australian Motocross since the late 1990s and have met a lot of people, I’d always watch the races and see if I could pick Glenn Macdonald’s next team. I think I may have picked 1 or 2 riders correctly over the years MACA had a team (Yamaha and KTM. I realise now why I failed to pick more. It isn’t just racing wins, race leads, or style that makes a rider standout. It is what a rider does in adversity, a bad start, mechanical, a major set back. I’ve learnt by talking to other coaches and current Australian Junior Motocross Coach Mark Willingham, it is in adversity that makes a successful rider, how a rider handles something like a bad start, do they settle in their current position or do they keep pushing. Mechanical’s happen, how does a rider handle that? That statement on ‘adversity’ made me remember the battles in Junior Racing when I was new to the sport, that is what made that era great, how a bad start would make a rider work for it and not just make it look easy out in front, plus the sound of a two-stroke pinned and a rider flapping off the back, the battles from a factory rider and a privateer (a privateers goal only to place better than the factory rider).
Back to the MX2 World Championship, I think the main issue with Prado is the fact that he is an awesome starter, the only way he has been beaten if he doesn’t get out in front and build a lead in the early part of the moto, like on the first lap. Yes, he has to work his way through lapped riders when he is out in front, but that is different working through the pack for the lead. Jeffery Herlings had the same issue and I was proved wrong with that thinking when Herlings came from dead last in America to win the race, Ironman National in 2017 where Herlings went 1-1, with race two starting from dead last to win the moto. With Jorge Prado being able to race the MX2 class till he is 23 he could stay in the class and dominate for more years to come, however, I think that would stunt his career rather than enhance it. Could a goal for Prado in 2020 that he joins the rider list of Romain Febvre and Tim Gasjer to win the World Championship in his rookie season, and in the case of Gasjer, he won the MX2 World Championship and the following year won the MXGP class in his rookie season. 2020 MXGP is going to be bigger than Ben-Hur.
Jorge Prado is a great investment for Red Bull KTM, now to see how his teammate Tom Vialle develops. Vialle is having a cracker of a rookie season sitting in fourth in the MX2 World Championship. With Jorge Prado planning to step up to the MXGP class in 2020, next years MXGP will be battle of the 2 MXGP Camps, Jeffery Herlings under one awning with Jorge Prado and Tony Cairoli under the other.
I always wondered why Pauls Jonas went to Rockstar Husqvarna, he read the play very well, I dare say he was thinking he would have had 1 year in the MXGP Class before Prado stepping up, and with his knee injury no one could predict how well he would go in his Rookie season, Jonas currently sits in ninth overall in the MXGP World Championship, and would be under a lot of mental pressure not signing a contract. Jonas made the right move and looking like a great investment for Rockstar Husky, sorta like Red Bull KTM has done all the work in developing the Latvian Pauls Jonas for Husky to take advantage.
MXGP PRESS RELEASE
MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado will remain a Red Bull KTM rider and part of the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship for the next four years, until 2023, after signing a contract extension at the Grand Prix of Germany last weekend.
The eighteen-year old Spaniard is acknowledged as one of the hottest talents on the international motocross scene. He made his debut in Grand Prix in 2016 and scored a podium finish at Assen in the Netherlands at his first full attempt. Prado toasted his maiden victory in Italy a few months later in his rookie MX2 term with the KTM 250 SX-F and then memorably duelled with then-teammate Pauls Jonass to win the 2018 FIM World Championship in his second season.
After the German fixture last weekend Prado is currently unbeaten in the nine rounds of ten he has contested in 2019 and had 14 holeshots. He leads the standings by 44 points in what has so far been a comprehensive title defence. If the Galician claims back-to-back titles he will be the third Red Bull KTM rider to do so in the last ten years, joining Marvin Musquin (2009-2010) and Jeffrey Herlings (2012-2013). Prado will also need to join the MXGP class and teammates Tony Cairoli and Herlings for 2020.
Jorge Prado: “KTM have supported me since I started racing and winning my first world title in the 65s. They offered me a great opportunity for MXGP because if I win this year then I’ll need to be on a 450 and so this all came together very easily. I’m very happy to stay another four years and we’re both excited about it. Since I joined this team and worked with Claudio [De Carli] I’ve really felt that my place was to stay here and learn. He has a lot of experience and I’m sure we’ll make a good pass to the 450s. I have a great team behind me and it is difficult to find a better place than where I am right now.”
Claudio De Carli, Red Bull KTM MXGP Team Manager: “In our sport we can never take anything taken for granted, so it is always satisfying when renewals like this happen and we can continue our journey. It is the sign that we are working in the right direction and the continuity in relationships means that the group is solid and close-knit. With Jorge I have had again the chance to help a young rider, which has always been one of my priorities, and I thank KTM for this. In the last two years I can only say that with Jorge we have always worked with the utmost commitment and with a smile, even in difficult times. He is a fantastic boy that deserves all his success.”
Robert Jonas, VP of Offroad: “Jorge has been a KTM rider from the beginning and it has been special and rewarding to watch him develop so fast to reach the top of the sport. Full credit must go to Claudio and Davide De Carli, Tony Cairoli and the crew inside the team for the way they have mentored Jorge and helped him unlock that final touch needed to bring the results we all knew he was capable of. Making this new contract was pretty easy because it was something both of us really wanted to happen and we’re excited to see what he can do next.”