One week after a struggle at the Grand Prix of Germany, Shaun sadly had to write-off last Sunday in France for the twelfth round of MXGP and at a packed LaCapelle Marival.
19th through the rutty hard-pack of Teutschenthal was a case of damage limitation for the SS24 KTM MXGP rider with a damaged right thumb ligament as well as an infection in the joint further hindering his racing.
Shaun came to Lacapelle and the site of the traditional pre-season international (that was staging a premier class Grand Prix event for the first time this century) in slightly better shape but his misfortune seemed to continue through race day. He set the 22nd fastest effort in Timed Practice and made a decent getaway for the opening moto until he was struck by Brian Bogers on the first lap and lost too much time to re-fire his KTM 450 SX-F with the start button wedged on the underside of the bars; the race was over before it started.
In a fresh state for the second moto at least, Shaun gated in the middle of the pack and set about searching for the highest quantity of points. His quest was halted on the first lap with a crash that left him far behind the pack and 25th was all he could reach.
“France made Germany look like a good GP!” he lamented. “I’m struggling to fathom why my hand is still bothering me so much. In between the Nations and Teutschenthal we definitely made some progress but Germany, and all those ruts, meant it was still sore. I didn’t have a great feeling during qualifying at Lacapelle but wasn’t too concerned about 22nd. I dislike DNFs and nobody likes to be pulling in after the first lap but after coming-together with Bogers the moto was down the pan. In the second one I made a decent start but went down on my own. I saw ‘points’ on the pitboard and that was all I was thinking about but, in all honesty, I wasn’t even close to being able to get into the top twenty. I was off the pace, and I think it’s my thumb and how it’s making the bike feel naff. There is not much we can do now apart from a bit of testing between the two bikes and configurations we have and see if we can find a compromise for next weekend. We’ll aim to find the best package for Spain, and try to be better; that’s all I can say.”
Shaun has now accumulated 85 points and is 21st in the standings, despite missing three rounds due to travel restrictions and date clashes with domestic championships. The SS24 KTM MXGP crew will drive south this week and to the community of Madrid for the Grand Prix of Spain.
Photo thanks to Ray Archer