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Jorge Prado’s progress with each Grand Prix that passes should not go unnoticed, as he is really making huge strides forward every single week. Prado once again proved that he has the speed to win in the premier class at the Grand Prix of Italy, the first event of the Faenza triple header, as he led 24 laps out of a possible 34. Not bad at all! What stopped him from finishing the job and capturing his maiden victory on the big bike? That’s actually broken down in this exclusive MX Vice interview.
MX Vice: Great day. Your best day in MXGP by far. Led most of both motos. I don’t even know how many laps in total. You led a lot of time. Your speed is clearly there. Everything is clearly where it needs to be. You just need more bike time, more bike fitness and then you’ll be able to carry that speed the entire moto and there you go. Everything will be perfect. I guess that sums it up.
Jorge Prado: Yeah. I think maybe I made a good step. Speed-wise I’m feeling quite good, and also with the bike. After Latvia I could do two solid weeks of riding and everything started to click again a little bit. Today was a good day. It was a good day for me. I’m feeling good. I was leading in the first moto, then Jeffrey [Herlings] passed me and I was clearly second on the last lap. I just wanted to ride. I went into a rut and then a rock fell just in front of me, so it hit my front wheel and I crashed. It was a pity, because it was three corners before the – I was clearly second. It was a bit like that, but the riding was good. I led 25 minutes.
I did the same in the second moto, but I think the riding was even better. I was just a bit confused the last five minutes. I think it’s good. For sure, I was the rider who led the most laps today. I didn’t win though. We will work on that. If I know I can be first in both motos for at least 25 minutes, then I just need to work on those last five minutes. The second moto was a little bit like I lost the focus, so it was not so good. There was so many riders behind me that once you lose a little bit of focus they all pass you. We can work on that for Wednesday. Physically I feel quite okay. Like I said, bike-wise I am feeling good. We will see.
At the beginning of the first race you were really pushing hard. Well, maybe you weren’t even pushing. Your lap times were clearly better than everyone else though. I think maybe seven laps in a row you were the fastest rider on the track. In the second moto your times were more similar to everyone else at the beginning, but then halfway through you suddenly dropped your times and started being the fastest rider on track again. Was that a change of strategy? Going into the second moto did you think, “Maybe if I back it down more in the beginning I’ll have more at the end?”
In the first moto I just said, “Yeah!” I was putting quite some gap in the beginning. I was not pushing more in one or the other. It just came naturally. In the second moto, just the last five minutes I really messed it up. I just need more racing and to continue being up front like this. It’s the best position you can be in. No roost and no stones, so it is good. Hopefully on Wednesday we can improve, because I think we still have some places where we can get better. I’m quite satisfied. Not 100%, but almost.
If there’s one thing that you want to improve on on Wednesday or something you want to change, what would it be?
I think once it comes to me at 25 and they are close, just keep going. I was thinking sometimes that I had to close the door and that made it even worse. I just need to keep going and keep going. They are not faster than me.
We saw that!
Yeah, they are not faster than me. They just could get better than me. They were better than me, so I don’t know. We will stay on two wheels. That’s very important. Keep putting time on my bike and then we’ll be okay. I’m happy that I’m racing. I’m enjoying it, actually.
At the end of both motos, rather than that being the bike fitness that you lost through both injuries, do you think it was just more you over-thinking about leading your first MXGP race? Do you think that it was more your head just kind of getting a bit too carried away with the situation?
In the first moto I had a mistake at 23 minutes more or less, and then that made Jeffrey come close to me. Once they are close, these guys, they give more than 100% to make the pass. Jeffrey did that, then I was behind him. I was really on his wheel the last two laps. I was feeling good physically and in the second moto, like I said. Just I messed it up mentally and I lost the focus. That’s why I started making little mistakes. That comes also, because I was a bit tired. Today it’s also a training for me, so on Wednesday we will hopefully be a bit better.
Let’s end the interview on a positive note. Today was amazing. It was your best MXGP day by far. Your speed was amazing. I think it’s all good. You have to agree. It’s all good!
One thing I’m impressed is that normally everybody says, “Yeah, but Jorge is good in sand.” Today it’s hard-pack, hard like hell in some places. I’m feeling good. Riding-wise good. Smooth. I didn’t have to risk to be up there, so that’s very positive as well. I already said 100 times in the interview, I’m feeling good. It’s alright. We just need to improve day-by-day and race-by-race. Hopefully we can one day stand up on top of the box. That’ll be amazing if we can make it here in Faenza. Not much to say about today, actually. Good day.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer