The fourteenth round of the 2016 MXGP series was a slightly confusing one for Shaun.
On one hand his excellent second position in the first moto across the impossibly tough sandy Lommel terrain represented his best classification of the season and provided a confidence boost in the wake of his broken hand injury. However three crashes (one blameless) in the second race meant the chance of a second victory in a row at the Belgian Grand Prix and even a first podium result of the season dispersed into the surface. He was sixth overall with a 2-12.
“I think everyone expected me to do well this weekend and deep-down I expected to do better than I had done in the last few weeks,” the British Champion said. “It was quite apparent on Saturday that it would not be as easy but I also had a good feeling about my potential because I saw there were a lot more riders on a level playing field.”
“This GP came around without the best timing for me,” the 28 year old explained. “My preparation was not the best or my feeling compared to last year so I just had to knuckle down and get on with it. There were definitely more positives than negatives to take – including two top five starts which were great. In the first race I got into second reasonably quickly and thought about closing down Max but he was running a good pace and I couldn’t eat too much into his lead.”
“In my mind I was thinking ‘2-1 beats 1-2’ I felt like I had saved enough in the tank for the second race but it was a lot more hectic,” ‘24’ goes on. “It was going to plan when I made a small mistake by myself and went down to 8th-9th but it was still salvageable for a podium spot until a massive coming together with Romain; I think he just lost his brain for a moment and lunged right into the side of me. We both went down and it was a tangle and a mess. I had another small crash later and finally got back to 12th.”
“My pace was there, my fitness wasn’t, but if things had gone to plan then I would have been around the top five and maybe even gone with Kevin [Strijbos, eventual winner with a 3-3 scorecard] for the top three. Coming back from my hand – and everything we have been through this year – then it was a nice step in a positive direction.”
MXGP hurries onto Switzerland this week with the new circuit of Frauenfeld-Gachnang set to host round fifteen of eighteen on Saturday-Sunday.
Photo thanks to Ray Archer