MX2 world champ Jorge Prado has iced any plans to go to the USA and will move up to the MXGP class to face Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli next year.
The Spaniard has signed an extension to his GP contract with Red Bull KTM until 2023 and has confirmed he’ll move up to MXGP next year despite only being 18 years old. In the past, Herlings was allowed to stay in the MX2 world championship after defending his title as it was claimed putting a teenager on a 450 could be too risky. Prado obviously feels otherwise and despite saying he would love to switch to the USA, he is now staying in GPs.
Prado made his debut in Grand Prix in 2016 and scored a podium finish at Assen in the Netherlands at his first full attempt, battling with Herlings. 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-team-mate 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.”