The year 2023 was the one of success for Jorge Prado who finally fulfilled his biggest dream. The fourth year was finally the good one for the wonder kid from Lugo, Spain who had to battle with the pressure from the outside and the incessant expectations on his shoulder to be MXGP World Champion. Prado can now fully enjoy his new status of being the best rider in the world thanks to an incredible season that propelled him to the top of the Championship from the very first race of the season.
The 22-years old Spanish grew a lot from his young and first years in motocross in Spain where he remembers “being from a small city, and be the only motocross rider in my city, I had to fight against myself to improve”. He then had the chance to sign with KTM in his early teenage years and his family moved to Belgium, the temple of motocross, to support him in his quest to become a professional motocross rider. Although the 2023 MXGP World Champion never did any training school, his natural style has been shaped in part by his love for Trial from his childhood that allowed him to learn about balance to ride with flow and ease.
On top of being naturally gifted, Prado explained that the decision from his family to come to Belgium at a young age where the best riders used to train was key to his success. He recalls “to learn about the best riders and look up to riders such as Jeffrey Herlings is something I have always done to improve. Today I keep watching the best riders to evolve and take the best of each”
All of this contributed to Prado becoming pretty quickly one of the hottest prospects of motocross. In 2015, he won the EMX125 European Title at the age of 14, starting his career successfully. A year later in 2016, after finishing a less successful EMX250 season, the young Prado lined-up in his first MX2 Grand Prix in The Netherlands, in the deep sandy track of Assen. That is when he entered into the big league with a bang, confirming all his talent as he directly climbed onto the third step of the podium, aged 15.
The 2017 campaign was when he made his first full MX2 season finishing at a very encouraging 7th place overall along with an impressive 3 Grand Prix victories and 5 out of 20 podiums and becoming the first Spanish rider to win a MX2 Grand Prix. The Spaniard was already on his way to greatness as he emerged in 2018 as the one of most complete riders of the year in MX2.
The Spaniard moved to the Italian side of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Claudio and Davide De Carli took the challenge to guide the young Spanish rider to the top of the MX2 class.
Prado went on to win a whopping 12 GP wins, making 17 podiums out of 20 GPs. With these impressive stats, Prado rose above his main rival Pauls Jonass to win his first MX2 World Championship.
He didn’t stop there as he rode even better during the 2019 season as he completely dominated the Championship, winning an eye watering 16 out of 18 Grand Prix. He came out again as the best rider of the year, winning the MX2 by 213 points (the biggest margin seen the top classes in the last 20 years) and snatching his second MX2 World Championship in a row.
Following this impressive run in MX2, Prado jumped to the top class in MXGP in 2020 with the KTM. At the best level, Prado had to deal with a string of successful and former World Champions with like of Antonio Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings, Tim Gajser and Romain Febvre. His first season in MXGP ended with a good 6th place in the Championship with as a badge of honour, winning 3 GPs on his rookie year.
Prado’s strength as he mentions, has always been his ability to “analyse what works, what doesn’t work with my riding, the bike and the team, and then train a lot to improve year on year”. That is exactly what he has done in 2021 as he went on to finish 5th in the Championship on his second year in MXGP despite winning ‘only’ 1 Grand Prix during that year.
In 2022, Prado switched to Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing Team with David De Carli. This switched proved to be the right one with the rider going up a notch and starting to perform at the top on a regular basis. He won 1 GP in Portugal and managed to get an amazing 10 podium out of 17 to reach the final podium with a 3rd place in the Championship.
Finally, 2023 was the year that Prado made it happen. The Spaniard did start the season from the best of ways in the first round in Argentina after winning the newly implemented RAM Qualifying Race to then finish on the podium and clinch the Red Plate. After that, Prado kept an incredible pace, winning 50% of the races over the first 5 GPs, winning his first Grand Prix in Trentino as well as getting 5 out of 5 podiums. However, the task at hand was not an easy one with Jeffrey Herlings coming strong and reducing the gap with the Red Plate after winning the 6th, 7th and 9th round. But once again, Prado kept performing to high standards which pushed Herlings to the limit and unfortunately got injured trying to reach the Red Plate. It was then Romain Febvre who got the closest from Prado, even winning 5 Grand Prix in a row. However, the 22-years old in the meantime got five 2nd place in a row and 3 pole positions, barely losing any points to Febvre and discouraging his competitors.
As the Spanish rider recalled, “the last month has been the toughest mentally as it was coming to an end and I needed to show up, which I did except in Turkiye. Even in Maggiora when everything was on the line, I showed to everyone that I had what it takes to be Champion.”
He added: ”it is so hard to get World Champion, and sometimes you think it’s never going to happen. But seeing my family, friends and team at the end of that first race in Maggiora meant the world to me. It was super special to me and great for the Italian team of GASGAS to win the title on home soil on one of the most iconic motocross tracks.”
Fighting off his rivals with flare, talent and speed, Prado was destined to win the 2023 MXGP season. His stats speak for themselves as Prado topped nearly all the charts as he led 210 laps, won 10 RAM Qualifying Races, 14 races and reached 16 podiums for 2 Grand Prix victories.
All those years spent to work, train and race hard finally paid off for the Spaniard with a season that has been marked by many firsts. While it is Jorge Prado’s first MXGP Championship, he also becomes the first Spanish rider to become MXGP World Champion and signs the first Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing Team’s MXGP Title and the youngest overall team to win in MXGP.
With one Grand Prix to go in Great Britain, Prado can further increase his 83-points lead in the Championship before getting officially crowned and celebrated in front of the all MXGP Family for his outstanding campaign and incredible achievement in becoming a three-time Motocross World Champion and fulfilling his biggest dream.
Jorge Prado 2023 MXGP Champion Clip HERE
Grand Prix Wins: 38
Race Wins: 102
MX2 World Champion: 2018, 2019
MXGP World Champion: 2023
Grand Prix Wins: 2
Race Wins: 14
Pole Position: 10