MXGP traversed the time zones to land from Indonesia to Patagonia and third Grand Prix of Argentina at Neuquen for what was also round three of nineteen in the 2017 FIM World Championship…
Shaun battled 12th place overall after needing to come from almost last position in the second race at the rough and quick layout close to the town of Bariloche.
#24 was the draw for many of the bike-crazed fans that flocked to the region close to the Chilean border and two weeks after his victory in the mud of Indonesia. MXGP found considerably better weather conditions and a well-prepared course of volcanic soil that was still as slick and bumpy as it was quick and undulating.
Shaun rode to eighth position in the Saturday Qualification Heat and didn’t have the best of starts in both motos on Sunday as a crowd of almost thirty thousand looked on. In the first outing he was part of a gaggle of riders disputing positions up to the top five of the classification and his fitness and acumen on the track brought the Wilvo Yamaha YZ450F to tenth. The second moto was determined by a first lap tangle with teammate Arnaud Tonus and then a mistake in stopping the bike while storming through the pack with Tony Cairoli. Shaun rallied hard to take thirteenth by the flag.
“A reasonably positive weekend but I am a bit disappointed with the second race and going down on the first lap with Arnaud,” the Scot said. “I then stalled it on the four or fifth lap while I was behind Cairoli: frustrating. I didn’t feel too great on the track when it was qualifying or just one lap rushes but my racecraft and fitness was coming into play and I was riding pretty good. My starts weren’t great and overall I just had to ground out those results. We were just thirty seconds off the lead in the first moto and this means things are going in the right direction at the moment. Two big mistakes in the second moto; but looking at the lap-times and analysis there are positives…even if the points total doesn’t really show that and we wanted more. Two top eights or sixes would have been better and it wasn’t a disaster but I felt there was more in the tank this weekend.”
Simpson sits ninth in the fledgling MXGP standings and just ten points from Romain Febvre in seventh place. Shaun will attempt the opening round of the Dutch Championship next weekend before packing suitcases once more in preparation for the Grand Prix of Mexico and round four of the FIM World Championship at Leon.
Photo by Ray Archer