The first competitive outing for Shaun in 2018 gave cause for encouragement but also produced one of the weirdest race scenarios of his career…

Several weeks of testing and training on the island of Sardinia was brought to a conclusion with the opening round of three in the Internazionali D’Italia in the sand of the Riola Sardo circuit and where Shaun made his first appearance in 2018 colours of Wilvo Yamaha; the Scot’s second term with the official satellite squad.

Cloudy conditions greeted the event that was also attended by a number of Shaun’s fellow MXGP peers. #24 set the fifth fastest lap-time in qualification and was fractions of a second away from MXGP World Champion Antonio Cairoli’s pole-setting best. In the MX1 moto Shaun made a decent start on the YZ450F and was haunting the mid-top ten; he finally crossed the finish line in a solid sixth place and with his racebike showing signs of ailing.

The mechanical doubt led the team to change engines before the start of the ‘Supercampione’ moto but a misjudgement over time led Shaun and teammate Jeremy Seewer to miss the cut-off hour for the start gate procedure. Both riders elected to join the race once the gate had dropped and although they circled to top five results were counted out of the final classification by race officials.

“An up-and-down day and, on behalf of the team as well, I’d like to apologise for the situation with the second moto,” Shaun said. “It was obviously not the way we wanted to be on the track but once we knew the circumstances we were determined to use the race. We kept seeing the black flag but decided to keep going. We missed out on the points due to disqualification but like the first moto the speed and riding was pretty good for what was the first time out this year and the first in a number of months for me. This was the initial step towards the Grand Prix in Argentina and now we have a month to get even quicker and ready.”

Shaun will remain in Italy and contest the next round of the Italian series. The hard-pack of Noto, Sicily lies in store next weekend.

Photo by Plons