Jorge Prado has had an eventful October, as he recorded the greatest race of his life and has been surrounded by controversy ever since. The crash that he had at Teutschenthal in Germany, involving Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Jeffrey Herlings, has been well documented at this point and now Prado has had his say in an exclusive MX Vice interview. Prado really opens up about the entire situation, both on track and what transpired in the hours after.
Prado received some horrific messages online, some public and others private, and he slams those “fans” in this discussion. Rightfully so, one might add. Prado was not in a great way on that Sunday evening and had to deal with a barrage of insults. Anyway, his views on that are also covered at length below. This interview was posted as an MX Vice post-race podcast presented by FLY Racing to begin with. It may be worth listening to that to hear the raw emotion in his voice.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer
MX Vice: You came here to salvage points and you did it, especially in the second moto. It was not the day that you would normally want. It was just a rough day and I guess that you are glad that it is over.
Jorge Prado: Yeah, I mean… I still did not know if I was going to race this morning, because I did not ride the bike. Doing a couple of exercises was still hard with my arm. I just got on the bike for practice and knew it was going to be difficult. I rode way more than normal, just to get the movements and stuff, and it was not easy. I was struggling all day – I did not have power in my left arm. I think it is normal, still from the surgery, and I am also struggling with my right leg on the inside. I did not have the power to hold the bike, so in some corners I was struggling.
It was just a struggle all day. Luckily, I could survive. The start did not help me be up front, because the box was in a different position. Normally it is in like twentieth, whereas it was around sixteenth this race. I had to go more metres to the right and every metre counts. Of course, qualification did not go well. I tried to do a couple of laps, but I was riding too slow. I was very scared on the jumps and could not hold on. It is what it is. We managed to get sixteenth in the first moto and twelfth in the second moto. I need to be happy with that… I need to be happy with that.
Now that it is done and you know the results, are you happy you rode today or do you regret it a little bit?
No, I am very happy. I am very happy, because I think it also helped to get my arm moving again. I needed those points. I am still in the fight for the championship and I really want to bounce back. I was at a very high level last week, battling for moto wins like I always do. When you see that you are there… I was in a very good position for the championship back then. I was good in Turkey, made the mistake and then I bounced back with good races. This was my mistake again. It is a part of the sport but this year has not been so easy. I was struggling in the beginning and then there are all these stupid things. I just needed to survive this race – that is what I did. I think that I will get better for Spain.
Talk me through the surgery. It was a deep cut and there were rumours that there was some nerve damage to your hand, but that was completely wrong. The cut was so big that surgery was needed.
Yeah, well the cut was very deep. I was very lucky that I did not get any muscle or nerve damage. The rumours about that were because I had a strange feeling in all of the fingers on my hand after the crash, so that was true. Just before getting into the surgery, I was feeling okay about that. Surgery had to be done, because it was such a deep cut that they had to really look to see if there was some damage and clean everything well. They had to put stitches on the inside and outside. It was just in a very bad place, because you move the arm and then the skin is tense over there [points to under his armpit]. That is about it.
The first moto in Germany was the best race of your life. You rode absolutely unbelievable and passed Jeffrey [Herlings] straight up. The pass you made on him was beautiful. Before we talk about the crash, I guess you were just so happy with that actual moto. That was you taking it to another level.
Yeah, like I said previously, I knew I was going to improve. I still need to improve! That is not my maximum, you know? What you saw in Teutschenthal was just a part of the progress. It was a track that was really suiting my style – I could stand up everywhere. Whereas here, it was like a first-gear track. It was like a 65cc track! So small and no sense. You have many ruts at Teutschenthal and a couple of options, so you can stand up a lot. I really like that, just to get a good flow in the ruts and try to use the bumps. It was a perfect day. I was feeling good on the bike. I was just getting more loose than normal on the jumps and it was, like you said, one of the best races of my life. Physically it was good and the pace we were going was… It was cool passing Jeffrey back. Everyone says, “You did a good race because you started in first.” I was second for a while in this case and got into first.
With the most beautiful pass!
It was beautiful. It already started on the downhill, where I could jump and go outside. It is what it is! It ended not even a second after passing the finish line.
I am not even going to ask a question here. Explain to the people what happened because everyone likes to have their own theories. Explain it from your side.
I want to say something that I never experienced in my life. Obviously, the people who sit behind the phone… Most of them do not know anything about motocross or they think they know and they actually do not. They just want to criticise someone and put all the fault to one rider. There is really not fault for anyone, I would say, and I will explain, but it was not really nice to hear all of these opinions. I got 1000s of messages and they were very bad messages, saying very unhuman things that I do not understand. You can think about that, but to send it is really bad. There are a lot of bad people in the world. I think the people need to think when I am sitting in the hospital and the only thing that I am thinking is about getting back on my bike. I do not really want to hear these stupid guys putting bad comments or sending messages. The people are crazy.
Luckily, it does not really affect me at all. I do not really care at all, because all of the people who send these messages are stupid. Going back to what happened, it was the last lap and before the finish line was this bump. I knew that if I got into that bump first then it would be over. Clearly, there was not even one percent possibility for him to win. Yeah, I just got a little bit to the left and took a different rut. I was normally in the middle, but on the last lap I got a little bit to the left and took a different one. That led me into the middle. It was quite straight at the beginning of the rut – that is why I took it – but at the end it took me to the right. I just said, “Okay. I go to the right then, because you jump and then you need to go to the right [for the exit of the track].”
You were like, “Convenient!”
Yeah, perfect! I will jump and go to the right. It was the last lap and I thought he would shut the throttle, because I was going to win. I jumped quite relaxed and the bike moved a little bit to the right, because of this rut. One wheel was still in the air and the other was on the ground when I looked to the right, because I heard his bike. I knew we were going to crash. It was not that I wanted to go to the right – the race was over.
The people say that I wanted to cross jump. You guys are stupid! They do not even know that the race is finished before the ramp, because the transponder is over there [at the bottom of the jump]. The people are so stupid… They like to criticise everybody and they think they are the best. They think they know a lot and say, “This guy is so dirty.” Okay, show me where I am dirty? They said, “Prado is so dirty. Blocking everybody!” Blocking? I passed Jeffrey. I did not block. Check the lap times to see who was the fastest. I think that I had the fastest lap of the race.
With a beautiful pass [laughs].
With a beautiful pass! If they want to think that then it is their problem, but I do not block anyone. I am just doing my race. If they can pass me then it is a different story. You also have to ride smart. If you know that they are going to go to the left then you go to the left. You just try to defend your position. It is not blocking. It is defending your position and fighting for the win, because I want to win this championship. We are all here to win, but always in a respectful way. You cannot find even one video or one picture where I block passed someone. I have never actually made contact with another rider in my life.
You take the holeshot like every time anyway. You do not even know how to pass riders!
That is another story! I do not even know. Like this weekend, everybody was so crazy. I am used to starting first with a clear track. I take it easy… Not easy, but I see my lines and I am clean. Now I see riders going from left to right. People say that I am blocking, but from tenth to twentieth on the first lap looks like a war. One guy is going over the bars out of the track, then another one wants to cut him and then another one bounced with another one.
Another person is panic revving behind you [laughs].
They jump into each other on the jumps in those positions, but they tell me I am the dirty one. People are crazy. I am a clean rider and I like to play clean. That is it.
This is what I thought. Most of the time, when you go into the last corner and there is a battle for the lead then that turn is the last chance to make something happen. The rider in second normally tries going into the last corner and then gives up – this is not Jeffrey’s fault though. You just did not realise that you were in a drag race to the finish.
I did not need to go full gas to the finish, because the race was over. Okay, it is not over until the chequered flag. It was over though! Maybe my bike stops and he wins, but I have a KTM and normally it does not break. Touching wood! It was just a racing incident.
How are you doing mentally? You said how this year has been tough, but you got yourself into a good position last year and it was taken from you. Not to bum you out, but you did the same this year and now this has happened.
Mentally… I need to bounce back, yeah? I need to go back to the 1-1 thing if I can. Points are important and there are less races every time, because we are racing. I need to get back into my real shape and speed. I will try to figure this out very quick. We will see.
Last thing. Does finishing second or third in the championship mean anything to you? If you end up second or third in the championship, thanks to the points that you salvaged today, are you going to be happy with that? Is it win or nothing for you?
I do not care if I am third actually. Third is like, “Okay. I was riding.” Second is like, “I was close!” I am going for the win. You can see it in every single race. I am one of the best riders right now and I can be the best on some tracks. I think that physically I am getting better and in good shape. It is a pity I had this crash at Teutschenthal, because I think that this championship would have been very interesting and especially on a track like this. Getting a good start, I could have had a very good fight. Instead of two riders today, it could have been three. You never know! Luckily, I finished the weekend on my feet and not in the hospital. I am happy to leave the track with two okay motos. It was the maximum I could do with my situation right now. That is it.