One week after Shaun took a steady 15th place at the Grand Prix of Czech Republic and his first double moto finish in almost two months MXGP heads onto Lommel for the Belgian round and where ‘24’ ruled the sand for his second FIM Motocross World Championship victory last summer.
Round fourteen comes hot on the heels of the fixture in Loket where Shaun lacked the starts on the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM to vie for the top ten of the premier class. Swapping tight and narrow hard-pack for the deep and bumpy sand where he finished third in 2014 and won last year could be beneficial for the Scot to get his season rolling once more.
“My chances this year are technically good: which means my riding, being happy with the bike, the suspension and set-up,” he says. “I’m in a good place and riding well so my speed should be on point…although there is a ‘but’! What I am lacking this year is race preparation and race fitness which I’ve lost over the last couple of months due to being on the sidelines. So I’m missing a bit of that endurance and intensity.”
“I had the full package last year whereas this time I feel I’m missing one or two small details but we’ll see,” he added. “Everyone knows that Lommel is a technical circuit, you don’t have to be the fastest or the smoothest you just need to put your races together.”
After his sandy ‘double’ in 2015 many race fans will be looking at Simpson to be in contention or at least part of the front-running group. The 28 year old insists that his orientation on this weekend has changed in light of his recent broken hand and a different set of circumstances compared to last summer where he blitzed the field on his privateer KTM. “If I can show the speed that I know I have and I can grind it out until the end of two motos then I don’t think I will be far away,” he reasoned. “People have been raising the point that it’s ‘my track’ coming up but for me it is really another race and my goal this time is to do the best I can rather than fix on any specific result. If I feel that I have ridden to 100% and it wasn’t good enough to be close to the podium then I will still be content.”
MXGP hurdles onto Fraunfeld, Switzerland immediately afterwards for the third race in succession.