Motocross

Jorge Prado fit for MXGP opener as KTM set to kick off 2020 season

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Jorge Prado. Photo: Ray Archer
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will be at full strength for the British Grand Prix at Matterley Basin this weekend and the first round of twenty in the 2020 FIM ‰Û÷MXGP‰Ûª Motocross World Championship with Jorge Prado making a late call for his premier class debut.

Eighteen-year old Prado will join MXGP teammates Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings at the popular British venue this week for what will be the tenth Grand Prix at the Winchester site. The MX2 world champion in 2018 and 2019 has been riding less than three weeks since recovering from a broken left femur but feels quick and confident enough to enter the gate for the first European-based season-opener since 2012.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm really happy I can be at Matterley and I made the decision to go so I could grab some points that might be important by the end of the championship," Prado said. "I feel like I need to be there. I have been working very hard since I had surgery in order to be able to line-up at that race. I will not take any risks. I‰Ûªve been on the bike for just two weeks so I‰Ûªm not expecting anything. If you have a break of two months then only two weeks of preparation is really nothing. I felt I could ride a bit harder in the last few days and put my foot on the ground. The team is super-happy I will be there. I‰Ûªm starting my MXGP career in a tough way but I hope after a few rounds I will feel better and can train more.‰Û
Tony Cairoli. Photo: Ray Archer
Tony Cairoli, winner of 89 Grands Prix, is still feeling his way back to speed after a long convalescence from the left shoulder injury that curtailed his 2019 campaign last June.

‰ÛÏAs ever I‰Ûªm looking forward to starting another season," Cairoli said. "I‰Ûªm not in the best shape at the moment but getting better every week and I am still working on the shoulder. My expectation is to always be on the podium: we‰Ûªll aim for that and re-group over the many races this year.‰Û
Jeffery Herlings. Photo: Ray Archer
Jeffery Herlings, on 86 triumphs, has had a strong pre-season with unbeaten outings in the UK and France to build up his speed and remove any doubts after a disrupted 2019.

‰ÛÏ2019 was the worst year of my career and I have learnt from it," Herlings recounted. "My goal this season is to be at all twenty races and to try and fight for the championship. My mentality is different. I don‰Ûªt feel that I must win every race anymore. If I can get on the podium then that‰Ûªs good enough and, most importantly, I get to the races after. Matterley could be challenging with the weather but it‰Ûªs a great track to start the year and it‰Ûªs almost a relief to be there healthy and ready.‰Û
Tom Vialle. Photo: Ray Archer
In MX2 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have crowned eight different world champions with the KTM 250 SX-F since 2004 and have claimed twelve titles in the last sixteen years. For 2020 they rely on eighteen-year old Frenchman Tom Vialle who excelled as the Rookie of the Year in 2019 with one win and six podium appearances as well as 4th spot in the final standings. Vialle has also claimed two victories in the pre-season period.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm looking at the championship in a bigger way this year," Vialle said. "In 2019 it was a bit up-and-down for me and I guess that‰Ûªs normal in a first season, but I need to be more consistent.! It‰Ûªs a really big step to talk about the title but I know I have the speed and it‰Ûªs a new challenge. Matterley is one of the best places in the championship because it‰Ûªs big with nice jumps and the starts are pretty spectacular. I love riding there‰Û_if the conditions are good!‰Û
Rene Hofer. Photo: Ray Archer

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