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Viewpoint: Jorge Prado

Jorge Prado of the Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team is the brightest talent in the FIM Motocross World Championship. When Jeffrey Herlings and Tim Gajser move onto pastures new, which may not be long now, Prado will be the one with a firm grip on Grands Prix. In fact, he could have that grip now. ’61’ was truly in the thick of the fight for the championship last term, even more so than Gajser.


Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer


It was that phenomenal showing that caused some to predict that he could challenge Gajser for the premier class title this year. Of course, that was not how things transpired and he is actually in danger of losing out on a medal if he cannot topple Glenn Coldenhoff through the final four motos. It has prompted fans around the world to raise an eyebrow, because he is better than that. Prado should have multiple wins to his name, rather than the one that he took in Portugal, yet now he is floundering on the cusp of the top ten.

There is a very good reason for that, as he shared to MX Vice exclusively at this past weekend’s Grand Prix of Finland. Prado was very sick at the Grand Prix of Flanders a month ago – so much so that he could barely speak to this journalist after the race – and it has now been confirmed that he had COVID-19 for the second time. Although he is negative now, the effects of such an illness continue to hinder him and he is just trying to salvage whatever he can each week.

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Ray Archer

“I am good, speed wise, but I am not so healthy at the moment,” Prado told MX Vice. “Ever since I had COVID at Lommel, I have been struggling a lot. It is tough. I do not like riding in the positions that I am riding in, but I cannot do much more. It is okay for one lap, as you have seen in time practice. I just cannot be one hundred percent once I go into the moto, like I was before. I was feeling very good, physically, the week before Lommel. COVID got me. I am struggling – hopefully we can get a bit better.”

“I did not sleep at all from Saturday to Sunday and then I went racing at Lommel,” he confirmed. “I did a test once I got back home and was positive for COVID, so I just could not ride for one week. I started riding slowly after that and did two days before Sweden. I am coming to the Grands Prix to put one hundred percent in, but I am just not healthy. It is nothing to do with training – it is just bad luck in a way. Especially at this point in the season! I cannot do much. There is not much more to say [laughs].”

There are obviously many riders who have dealt with COVID-19 now, but this is particularly concerning for Prado. ’61’ contracted the virus in the October of 2020 and dealt with the effects of that in the nine months that followed. Prado went 9-8-2-7-2-7-6-3 through the first four rounds last season, as he tried to flush the virus out of his system. Now, he eventually did that and was just nine points away from the red plate at the halfway point. The worry is whether the return of the virus could send him down the same path.

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Ray Archer

“We are trying to feel better with a doctor,” Prado commented on overcoming the issue. “It is very hard. There is not much information about it. It is easy when you have the flu, because then you take that medicine and know that you will be okay in three days. Sometimes you feel bad with COVID and sometimes you feel good, but lately I’ve felt very bad. We are going so high in the heart rate in this sport that once I get there I go, ‘Okay, I need to slow down otherwise I cannot make it’ and then I lose everything.”

The sickness emerged at the end of July and Prado was struggling on a lesser scale prior to that ailment. It is worth noting that he has been searching with his bike set-up, much like his counterparts, but he has said on more than one occasion that positive changes have been made that would allow him to perform at his very best. The issue is that he is now ill and unable to put those gains to the test. Much like he said, the situation is a mix of bad luck and poor timing.

The good news is that the end of the season is near. Prado can hit the reset button in every way imaginable in just a couple of weeks and then turn his attention to the 2023 FIM Motocross World Championship. The Monster Energy Motocross of Nations will take place in the meantime and, although he is expected to lead Team Spain into the race, his participation has been called into question now. Prado simply said that he is going to see how he feels in the coming weeks before committing.

“I don’t know,” Prado confirmed. “We need to see. I do not know. If I start feeling better then it would be good to go, but if I feel like I do now then it is probably a waste of time. I really need to evaluate everything with my team and people to see what we can do.”

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MX Vice Editor || 25