Not quite the quantity of points Shaun was hoping for at round five in Italy with 11th overall but the European phase of the 2017 MXGP series continues with the sixth stop on the slate this weekend in Holland.

“Physically and in terms of my feeling on the track I wasn’t really gelling or getting the speed I wanted,” #24 summarised after last weekend’s Grand Prix of Trentino at Pietramurata; a hard-pack and compact course where overtaking often required an aggressive – almost desperate – approach. Less than ideal starts were another obstacle for Shaun to tackle and he was left slightly subdued with a 10-14 scorecard for 18 points.

Looking ahead, and the Grand Prix of Europe this weekend represents a chance for the Scot to regain some confidence and form. The shallow and bumpy sand at the Eurocircuit could be a fine surface for the 29 year old to think about placing his YZ450F onto the MXGP podium for the second time this year; Shaun is still one of just three GP winners this term.

“Obviously we are back in the sand this weekend and people are already talking about me for the win or the top three but this will be the first major race for us on this type of terrain this year and we’ll need to gauge how we feel in practice and if we have a little bit more set-up work to do or not,” he said. “It is a track that’s close to my base in Belgium, and one at which I scored my first ever GP moto victory. Last year I was sick and couldn’t really show my potential at this event so I’m hoping for a good weekend.”

Shaun is currently eleventh and two points away from the top ten of the MXGP standings. 2017 is arguably the toughest and most competitive term of MXGP on record: from the top twenty finishers in Italy last week fifteen athletes in the premier class have Grand Prix winning experience and all have walked a GP podium.

Photo by Ray Archer