Shaun’s best-laid plans seem to tumble like the Qatar desert sand between the Scot’s fingers at the opening round of 2017 MXGP at Losail last weekend…

A warning sign of some rotten luck at the first round of nineteen in the FIM Motocross World Championship came in Timed Practice on Friday evening where Shaun was one of a clutch of MXGP riders not to see waved yellow flags…but was one of just two to be penalised by ten places in the classification. It meant a tough gate pick for the Qualification heat and set the tone for some hard work out of the new metal flooring system for race starts in 2017.

The first moto across a rutty and carved Losail terrain – perhaps the roughest it has been in five editions due to pre-event rainfall as well as work on the texture of the dirt (less stones) – could not have been worse for Shaun who suffered a bike stall and had to come back through the pack. A crash cost him some positions and wasted some hard work and he came by the flag in seventeenth.

The second race saw #24 make his best launch of the weekend; a top ten slot around the long first corner and into the waves section. Shaun remained on the periphery of the top ten and just lacked that extra edge of fitness – due to his recent illness – to push up higher. He ran to fourteenth.

“There is no point in getting too disheartened by today,” he said of his sixteenth position overall. “It was not what I wanted, what I planned and what the team had in mind for our first GP. MXGP is tough and if one bad result or weekend is going to get me down I might as well quit now. We need to get back ‘on it’ and regroup this week and talk about some ideas and make some analysis. That’s the attitude I’ve got right now and I think it is the best one to have: ever the optimist! I know that after the worst weekend in the world then you can suddenly be back there again at the front the next week: it will be like that this year. There will be guys who score second place in the first race and then will be twelfth in the second. Starts are key and track preparation will come under the microscope. There are improvements to be made on my part and I have some areas I want to work on.”

Simpson and his Wilvo Yamaha team will head directly to Indonesia for round two at the new Pangkal Pinang circuit this weekend.