A broken chain while holding fourth place in Saturday’s qualification race largely determined Shaun’s possibilities for the Grand Prix of Spain today and the Scot had to come from the rear of the pack to bag tenth place overall.
For the second time in a row MXGP was hit by heavy rainfall on Saturday but the downpours helped soften and roughen the Spanish hard-pack at Cerro Negro in Talavera de la Reina. Shaun was feeling quick and optimistic on the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM and was running in fourth spot in the formative stages of the Qualification Heat until his chain snapped and the race was over.
It meant the second-to-last gate pick from thirty-two riders on a sunny Sunday. Electing to brake and tip around the inside of the tricky ‘s’ curves Shaun was already mid-pack by the end of the first lap. He then embarked on a quick chase through the pack and passed Jose Butron with one lap to go and attacked Tommy Searle with four corners from the flag but slipped off and had to quickly remount to keep eleventh place ahead of the Spaniard.
In the second moto Shaun tried the same start approach and it worked again. Once more he was riding well and proactively and found his way back to tenth, passing factory KTM rider Glenn Coldenhoff on the last lap.
“I felt in a better place this weekend. I had a good place in qualification and was fourth but unfortunately the chain went and it was one of those stupid things that was nobody’s fault,” he explained. “The only positive to take was that it didn’t happen today! I made a reasonable job of both starts by cutting down the inside, round the outside of turn two and then the inside of the next one. All things considered I was in the top twelve of both races which was great actually! I made two mistakes in each race – two spills in the first one, a stall and another tip-off in the second one – but when you are back in the pack you end up pushing harder and taking more risks on lines that you probably not normally comfortable with to pass guys and make up time quickly.”
“Overall my riding was really good and my lap-times were comparable with the top five which is where I see myself at the moment,” he added after moving up to seventh in the MXGP standings. “Tenth and eleventh definitely did not reflect how I was riding today but my feeling on the bike is getting better, physically I am amazing right now and roll-on next week.”
In only a few days MXGP gathers again in the paddock of St Jean D’Angely for the Grand Prix of France near La Rochelle on the west coast.
Photo thanks to Ray Archer