Shaun will end four consecutive weeks of racing with the trip to Agueda and round five of MXGP. It has been a period of both positive vibes and frustration and now the red soil of the Portuguese round will offer another chance for #24 to post some serious points.
MXGP has been a bit of a splutter for the former multi British Champion so far. Shaun’s travels have taken him from Spain to Markelo for the opening round of the Dutch national series and then to the hard-pack of northern Italy last weekend. The far reaches of western Europe beckon this week.
Spain: Round three of MXGP travelled to the Redsand facility near Valencia and although the ground and circuit is familiar to many motocrossers as a popular training venue the Grand Prix configuration involved a slightly different test. A bright Sunday did not go as planned for #24 with an electrical problem forcing him into the pitlane and out of the running in the first moto and a small crash on the first lap of the second race forced a chase back through to 14th position.
Holland: The Markelo sand provided a chance to put aside the disappointment of the previous Sunday with a chance to iron-out problems and get a groove going again. Against a clutch of Grand Prix rivals Shaun rode to a 3-4 for fourth overall and was close to a first podium appearance of 2018 on the Wilvo Yamaha. Some confidence and faith restored.
Italy: Onto the Pietramurata hard-pack and a very particular circuit (narrow, tight, compact) where race starts are essential for thoughts of a top five finish. Although the weather remained sunny and the fans packed the track close to Lake Garda the weekend was not the shiniest for Shaun with another set of indifferent motos. After just missing a pile-up on the first turn of Saturday’s Qualification Heat (coming back to 12th place) 11th position in race one was a reasonably solid place to kick things off. Shaun was then knocked to the ground at the beginning of the second dash. He fought from last up to the fringes of the points but a last lap fall banished all of his hard work. 15th overall and only two places better in the MXGP points table.
“It’s been a real mix over the last couple of weeks and some problems and issues that we really didn’t expect to have,” Shaun said. “It’s teeth-gnashing, but one of the good things about our schedule is the chance to get out on the bike and turn things around in a matter of days. We had some good moments but also some disappointment again in Italy and I want to work with the team to firmly close the book on that weekend when we get to Portugal. Agueda is an interesting circuit that can get pretty rough if it rains, so all our focus will go there now.”
Photo courtesy of Ray Archer