The eighteenth round of the season in Maggiora for the MXGP of Italy held all its promises with the coronation of a new MXGP World Champion, Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado.
The season has been long for the Spaniard who took the Red Plate right from the first race in Argentina. Prado showed an incredible determination to keep his cool in front of riders who pushed hard to take his place such as former MXGP World Champions Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Kawasaki Racing Team’s Romain Febvre. However, Prado never flinched and display an amazing consistency throughout the whole season as he won 10 RAM Qualifying Races, 14 races, 16 podiums and 2 Grand Prix victories. The World Champion was helped by his legendary fast starts to take 14 FOX Holeshots so far this season.
Thanks to his race win in Race 1 of the MXGP of Italy and the retirement from Romain Febvre, Prado manage to win the Championship on the first race of the day against all odds. The Spanish has won his third Motocross World Championship and can now proudly sit alongside those who made it to the top in the MXGP class. With one Grand Prix to go in Great Britain, Prado could still increase in amazing stat but he will be coming into the starting gate of the first race with a sense of relief and pride of being the 2023 MXGP World Champion.
The MXGP of Italy saw Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Jeremy Seewer win his 3rd Grand Prix of the season in front of Jorge Prado who ended on the second step of the podium which was enough to win the Championship. Third on the podium was an excellent Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández
The venue saw an huge attendance with the fans being very noisy and cheery the whole day in a very special atmosphere that pushed the riders to show their best selves in front of the outstanding support from the home crowd, delighted to be part of unique moment in the Championship.
In Race 1, it was none other than Jorge Prado who took the FOX Holeshot to take the lead from the start. Prado was not leaving anything to chance and flew with the lead. Behind him Jeremy Seewer got under pressure early on from Romain Febvre who knew he had to get pass Prado to keep his hopes of winning the Championship alive. He pushed very hard and even passed Seewer for a brief moment before losing balance and leaving the Swiss off the hook. The heart-breaking moment for Febvre happened on lap 6 of 18. Febvre first got untidy and crashed out of 3rd place to pick himself in 5th but the Frenchman kept charging forward, only to find himself a lap later hitting the bank of the track after pushing hard. The bike started to lose power and Febvre would never manage to get the bike going again, leaving the path free for Prado to win the Championship.
With that in mind, Prado needed only the 4th place and above to win the Championship. Prado didn’t realise that but kept riding superbly to win the race and discover the whole team and his family waiting for him after the checkered flag.
Seewer kept riding strongly to finish at an excellent 2nd place after battloing off Febvre early on in the race. After winning his first race on Saturday, Forato confirmed his form to start very well going 4th on the opening lap. Forato benefit from Febvre’s nightmare to get an incredible 3rd place, his best sunday race finish of the season.
Behind them, things settled pretty quickly with Team Gebben Van Venroy Yamaha Racing’s Calvin Vlaanderen, Team HRC’s Rubén Fernández and Standing Construct Honda MXGP’s Pauls Jonass all staying consistent to keep they rank throughout the whole race and all gaining one position due to Febvre’s retirement. Vlaanderen finished 4th, Fernandez 5th and Jonass 6th.
For Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team’s Glenn Coldenhoff his riding allowed him to put pressure on the good performer De Baets Yamaha MX-Team’s Benoit Paturel who found himself 8th and then 7th for nearly the full race. Paturel could not contain Coldenhoff’s assault on lap 16 ad Coldenhoff finished in 7th while Paturel settled for 8th.
The most incredible performance of the race was from Team HRC's Tim Gajser who fell in the first corners to pick himself in the last position. However already on the tur of the opening lap, Gajser went up to 17th. The Slovenian kept charging and overtaking rider after rider to finish 9th in the end which shows that his riding and confidence are reaching incredible heights.
In Race 2, the freshly MXGP World Champion Prado continued on his path and clinched another FOX Holeshot and the lead. However this time, Febvre rode strongly and following a strong battle managed to make a great move to pass the Gold Plate on lap 8 of 18. Gajser followed the French rider and passed Prado too. Febvre had to deal with a fast-pacing Gajser who tried to pass a couple of times. Prado held his own and won the race in front of Gajser. Unfortunately, both riders missed out on the podium, finishing 5th for Gajser and 9thfor Febvre.
Prado was riding his own race in 3rd until lap 17 when he crashed and moved down to 6th position. This mistake denied him the perfect win which would have been the cherry on the cake. In the end Prado went 1-6 to finish 2nd overall. This mistake benefitted two riders immensely. First, Fernandez who was solidly riding in 4th from the opening lap and then finished 3rd to get the 3rd place on the podium for the first time since Germany. Second, Seewer who battled so hard with Forato for the 5th place. The Swiss knew he had to pass the Italian to get on the podium. Seewer in the end managed to make a beautiful move and went elbow to elbow with Forato over a couple of corners. Seewer in the end got the better of Forato and moved up to 5thand then 4th with Prado’s crash which offered him his 3rd Grand Prix victory of the season.
Unfortunately, Forato had to settle for 5 going 3-5 for 4th overall. This was his best finish of the season but the young Italian sit on the podium for a large part of the race to see it disappear in the end.
Jonass rode another strong race to go 7th from start to finish and get the 6th overall while Ship to Cycle Honda SR Motoblouz’s Valentin Guillod went 10-8 for 10th overall. Coldenhoff settled for 9th in the end to finish 8th overall.
Jorge Prado: “Oh what a day! It was a pity that I made a mistake otherwise I would have gotten the overall but hey I’m the new World Champion and it’s just amazing you know. I would never imagine at the beginning of the season to be up here with this Gold Plate. It was such hard work the whole season and many people didn’t believe that it was possible but I believe in myself and I knew I could make it happened and here I am, the best of the year.I cannot ask for anything better, I enjoy and I am World Champion, I dreamed about that moment all my life”
Jeremy Seewer: “The track was pretty fast and high-speed racing so it was hard to make a pass and make the difference. I knew in the second race that I had to get Alby (Forato) to get on the podium but I didn’t know I could win the GP. Of course, Jorge made a mistake but I’ll take it and the fans here are crazy and noise they make is amazing. Big congratulations to Jorge (Prado) for an amazing season, he deserves to be World Champion. Unfortunately I was too far off but I’m feeling good now and I’m looking forward for the last race and for next season”
Ruben Fernandez: “This has been tough in the last races since I had that crash in Finland as I have been dealing all the time with injuries and couldn’t not ride the weeks. But I finally felt better and could put on the work during the week and work hard. I felt more prepared for this Grand Prix and felt confident to get a result, so I am so happy to be getting back on the podium. The second heat was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot and felt like myself again with a good speed. I’m happy to get back into my rhythm for the next races”
MXGP - Grand Prix Race 1 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), 35:26.988; 2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:01.309; 3. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +0:02.884; 4. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, Yamaha), +0:26.251; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:36.013; 6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:37.716; 7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:39.330; 8. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:42.810; 9. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:44.649; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:57.489
MXGP - Grand Prix Race 2 – Top 10 Classification: 1. Romain Febvre (FRA, Kawasaki), 34:48.254; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:01.628; 3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, Honda), +0:06.011; 4. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:07.604; 5. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), +0:09.310; 6. Jorge Prado (ESP, GASGAS), +0:29.315; 7. Pauls Jonass (LAT, Honda), +0:33.442; 8. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Honda), +0:34.900; 9. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, Yamaha), +0:35.514; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Beta), +0:42.756
MXGP – Grand Prix Top 10 Classification: 1. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 40 points; 2. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 40 p.; 3. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 36 p.; 4. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 36 p.; 5. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 34 p.; 6. Pauls Jonass (LAT, HON), 29 p.; 7. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 28 p.; 8. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 26 p.; 9. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 25 p.; 10. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 24 p
MXGP - World Championship Top 10 Classification: 1. Jorge Prado (ESP, GAS), 890 points; 2. Romain Febvre (FRA, KAW), 807 p.; 3. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 719 p.; 4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, YAM), 655 p.; 5. Ruben Fernandez (ESP, HON), 612 p.; 6. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, YAM), 565 p.; 7. Alberto Forato (ITA, KTM), 490 p.; 8. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 456 p.; 9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, HON), 334 p.; 10. Maxime Renaux (FRA, YAM), 314 p
MXGP - Manufacturers Classification: 1. GASGAS, 902 points; 2. Yamaha, 894 p.; 3. Kawasaki, 823 p.; 4. Honda, 728 p.; 5. KTM, 724 p.; 6. Beta, 305 p.; 7. Husqvarna, 80 p