Shaun may have struggled for strength in his weak right shoulder last weekend in Agueda for the Grand Prix of Portugal but that didn’t affect his wrist reactions as he seized his first MXGP holeshot of 2018.

A case of the 11s: 11-11 for 11th overall had it merits around an impressive track that was rutty and soft after a deluge of rain in the build-up to the fifth round of twenty. SS24 was also dealing with a delicate right shoulder with limited movement. It meant the Scot had to overcompensate with the left side of his body and the circumstances instigated a gruelling set of two thirty minute and two lap motos on Sunday.

His plight was helped however by a rasping second race holeshot; his first of the season and allowed him to nestle into a rhythm that ensured another 11th in the most exhausting phase of the weekend. Shaun was also dealing with the adverse effects of an infection in a badly grazed right arm. In short the second Grand Prix in a week was a case of survival.

“I was not 100% but in a condition to race and we went to Portugal aiming for two top twelves and we managed that,” he said from London and a short stay in the English capital to secure the necessary visa for round six and the Grand Prix of Russia. “I had a reaction to the medicine I was taking for my arm and my shoulder was still not right; I couldn’t lift my arm above 90 degrees so it was a tough one. I adjusted the best I could on the bike but it meant I had nothing left in the tank to push harder after ten minutes.”

“The holeshot felt mega,” he added. “I don’t have much recollection of it now. My mind just went blank. The gate dropped with a bit of a delay, I’m not sure if that made much difference! A couple of those in the next races and with better conditioning and we’ll be laughing.”

Three Grands Prix in four weeks now gives way to a slightly calmer schedule for the Wilvo Yamaha team. Shaun heads back to Belgium tomorrow for further checks on his upper arm and with a training and practicing routine programme in place ahead of the long trip east. The Grand Prix of Russia occurs on the slightly unusual date of May 1st – a Tuesday – and at the Orlyonok circuit on the shore of the black sea for the second year in a row.

Photos by Ray Archer