Strong performances from Shaun today after setting the second fastest lap-time among the stacked MXGP field during Free Practice in Qatar and then riding to seventh position – ahead of AMA Champion Ryan Villopoto – in the first Qualification Heat of the year. A small crash while holding sixth place ahead of Romain Febvre meant that the Scot had to settle for seventh and kept clear of the charging Villopoto, who had also fallen while trying to pass the Scot earlier in the race. A broken overflow pipe meant that the 450SX-F was worringly smoky for a few laps but overall it was a decent first day of action for ’24’.

“Today was fine and what I needed,” he said. “A good start, good speed and a top ten place. I’m super-happy with the track that is a bit more rough and rutted compared to last year.”

MXGP Timed Practice:

1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 23:57.028; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:04.946; 3. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:07.150; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:12.479; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:16.261; 6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:26.411; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:32.424; 8. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:33.693; 9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:43.779; 10. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +0:48.825;

Click HERE to see Shaun’s onboard lap