Pole Position and a third place podium finish at Assen in his full debut in MXGP marked a wondrous first Grand Prix appearance by 15-year-old Red Bull KTM’s Jorge Prado, who then went on to compete in the final two American rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship and the Motocross of Nations at Maggiora as a late call-up for Spain and with the injury to Iker Larranaga.
Prado’s rapid ascendance through European and world junior titles, EMX125 glory and a shining first season on 250cc machinery this year means the teenager has already been drafted into the Red Bull KTM factory team for 2017. Pauls Jonass’ concussion allowed Prado to get his very first taste of MX2 at Lommel in Belgium but a dislocated shoulder in the build-up to the meeting meant that he didn’t last beyond the practice schedule. Fitter a month later in Assen and Prado again shone.
“Everything has gone really well,” he said recently at the end of the MXGP calendar and also speaking of tougher outings at Charlotte and Glen Helen where he was 19th and 16th overall and missing the physical strength to endure two hard MX2 motos on the hard-pack. “Charlotte was not amazing but I felt tired with the trip and wasn’t 100 per cent. I was physically better in Glen Helen. I’m not super-happy but I know where and how I have to work for next year. For example, I know I need more upper body strength and force around my shoulders. After the injury I had this year I then focussed more on the bicycle instead of working the shoulders hard so I need to organise a little bit.”
Prado, who has been heavily linked to a slot in the Troy Lee Designs KTM squad in the USA and has a long-term deal with the manufacturer from Mattighofen, insists the MX2 opportunities were ideal in terms of education. It meant that the youngster (who bested both Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings for making a GP top three; Roczen did it in his fifth appearance, Herlings in his third) went from first laps on a 250 towards the end of 2015 to the forefront of MX2 in the space of 10 months. “I’ve had a look at my rivals for next year and that’s very important…as well as gaining some experience on circuits outside of Europe.”
The winter of 2016 is going to be about training and physical prep for the Galician who is also still at school and based in Lommel. “I think I can do more but I also don’t want to obsess about training day and night,” he said. “I have to do it sensibly. It will be a long year. At the very least I will be better prepared.”