Shaun played an active part in an exciting opening thrust of 2018 MXGP by running to fifth position in the qualification heat at a sunny Neuquen today.

The Scot was in a determined and playful mood on the Wilvo Yamaha YZ450F in the Free and Timed Practice sessions; even heading the opening chrono for a period of 25 minute duration. He finally settled on an eighth place for the first gatedrop of the season. Shaun didn’t get the best jump from the metal grill and swept around the wide left-hand opening turn in the top ten. #24 then began a race-long duel with countryman Max Anstie in as pair battled with Gautier Paulin, Jeffrey Herlings, Julien Lieber and Shaun’s teammate Jeremy Seewer for fifth spot.

It was a tussle that Shaun would win after passing Anstie for the last time two laps before the chequered flag. “I enjoyed every single minute of that,” he said afterwards. “We lost some revs as the gate dropped so we’ll look at that but otherwise it’s been a good day and with a good feeling on this track. I got into a rhythm straight away and it was pretty action-packed there for a while. I could feel that I was faster and when I finally passed Max then I could breathe and start to make a bit of a gap. With ten extra minutes in the motos tomorrow then I know I can make further progress.”

The first round of nineteen takes place on the volcanic earth of the Neuquen facility tomorrow afternoon with a three-hour time difference to the UK (four from CET). After the Saturday schedule Shaun goes to the line with the fifth choice of slots.

Photo by JP Acevedo/Yamaha