Red Bull GasGas' Jorge Prado out of MXGP of Italy with dislocated shoulder

The MXGP World Championship rolls back into Italy this weekend, and the legendary Maggiora Park, but one of the major protagonists will be missing. 

Jorge Prado, 2022 MXGP of Trentino. - GasGas Media/Juan Pablo Acevedo

TIM Gajser goes to Maggiora this weekend with a 66-point championship lead in MXGP, and it has now been confirmed that his closest rival will not be racing the MXGP of Italy. 

Jorge Prado has today (6 May 2022) been confirmed to be missing this weekend’s MXGP of Italy in Maggiora, as a result of a dislocated shoulder. 

Jorge Prado, 2022 MXGP of Trentino. - GasGas Media/Juan Pablo Acevedo

Prado’s injury is a major setback for the Spaniard, who, after the previous race in Latvia, is missing 66 points in his title battle with three-times MXGP World Champion Tim Gajser. 

"I crashed in practice last week,” Prado said. “It was not a very big crash, but I dislocated my shoulder. A shoulder specialist put it back in as quickly as possible and I am thankful for that.”

The Spaniard is currently not ruling out being back for the next race in Riola Sardo, but the MXGP of Sardegna is just a week away, so there is certainly no guarantee that the #61’s absence will be limited to this weekend in Maggiora. “I'm working very hard right now, just to make sure that I can get back as soon as possible,” the two-times MX2 World Champion said. 

“Hopefully I will be at Riola Sardo, as long as everything goes well. That would be a big achievement for me. It is a pity that I cannot ride this weekend – I am second in the championship and in the fight for the title. Maggiora is a track that I like as well. I hope that I can put my GASGAS back on track in Sardegna.”

Tim Gajser, 2022 MXGP of Latvia. - Honda Racing Corporation/Shot By Bavo

The absence of Prado almost guarantees a fourth MXGP crown for Tim Gajser. The Slovenian has that aforementioned 66-point lead over Prado, but he will likely have a new rider heading up the charge behind him after Maggiora. Maxime Renaux is only five points behind Prado in the standings, so 71 behind Gajser. The Frenchman should be able to overcome his deficit to Prado this weekend, but whether he will be able to take any points out of the lead Gajser has on him is much less probable.

Gajser has won five of the six Grands Prix this year, with Prado the only one to get the better of the #243 HRC rider when the World Championship visited Agueda in Portugal last month. Even then, Gajser arguably showed better speed than Prado, but has his weekend compromised by a crash in the qualifying race with Ruben Fernandez. 

For Renaux’s part, he was able to win the first moto in Argentina, and tied Gajser points-wise that weekend. It was just that Gajser won the second race that meant he won the Grand Prix overall. But Renaux’s Portuguese performance was a reminder that he is a rookie on the 450 this year, and so it is likely there will be continued fluctuations in his results. With a 71-point gap between himself and Gajser, and with Gajser in such consistently formidable form at the moment, it is hard to see Renaux mounting a serious title bid from here without some kind of misfortune for Gajser.

The news of Prado’s injury comes a few days after it was confirmed by both Jeffrey Herlings and KTM that the Dutchman will not be racing this year at all. 

The decision was taken for Claudio de Carli’s team, which had run as KTM for many years, to switch to GasGas for 2022. With the retirement of Antonio Cairoli from MXGP competition, that left only Herlings on factory KTM in the MXGP class, with Prado the only GasGas representative in the premier division of the Motocross World Championship. 

Mattia Guadagnini wins 2021 MXGP of Italy. - KTM Media/Ray Archer

Although GasGas has 2021 Maggiora winner, Mattia Guadagnini, and the 2022 MXGP of Great Britain winner, Simon Laengenfelder in the MX2 class; and Red Bull KTM have 2020 World Champion and four-time GP winner in 2022 Tom Vialle in the 250 class, most of the KTM Group’s representation now will come from Husqvarna, at least for this weekend. 

Even there, they are faced with a Pauls Jonass (MXGP) who remains in not his best physical condition after a heavily disrupted winter, and no Roan van de Moosdijk after he crashed out of the MX2 season in Argentina. Although, Jeremy Sydow made a strong debut for the factory Standing Construct Husqvarna squad last time out in Latvia, even if the results did not necessarily show it. The same, in fact, could be said for Kay de Wolf, who had good speed but not the track position to take advantage of it in Kegums. 

On the other hand, Brian Bogers is one of the revelations of the year. He took his first MXGP-class podium in Portugal, and has become a regular top five rider in recent weeks. You might say that the harder dirt of Maggiora compared to, for example, Agueda, would not play to his strengths, but he showed good speed in Trentino where he was let down by crashes. 

And, with that in mind, let us switch focus briefly to the rider who will now be GasGas’ primary rider in the MXGP class this weekend: Alberto Forato. Another revelation of 2022, Forato had top six speed (arguably even more) in Trentino, but, like Bogers, was let down by crashes- or, one crash in particular. In Supercross, we have recently seen riders like Brandon Hartranft, Cade Clason and Justin Starling all taking career best results, in part thanks to a depleted 450SX class. With riders like Herlings, Romain Febvre, and now Prado all missing from the gate this weekend in Maggiora, will there be a space for home hero Forato to spring a podium?