After a convincing qualifying result that produced some telling battles with Clement Desalle and Tommy Searle, Simpson has the fourth gate pick for tomorrow’s thirteenth round of the FIM World Championship in Loket, Czech Republic. The Scot has enjoyed top 5 results in his last two visits to this track so we caught up with ‘24’ to get his take on today’s events, track changes and tomorrow’s plan.

“I’ve been coming here since 2005 and it’s nice to see the start gate back in its original place; it’s a main focal point of the circuit and I wasn’t a fan of the two editions when we had the downhill start at the back of the track. It was also nice to see that extra section to ‘up’ the lap time. I feel the track could have been prepared a little bit better today; it was quite dusty so there wasn’t a lot of grip but it’s a nice track.”

Speaking of the track conditions, Loket’s pretty unique compared to other tracks on the calendar…

“Yeah, it’s completely different to anything else… the only other track I could compare it to is Sweden. When it’s prepared well there can be a lot of grip here but the way it was today it was like polished hard-pack with marbles on top! On a whole I wouldn’t say it’s one of my favourite tracks but it’s something I can knuckle down and get on with so overall I quite enjoy it.”

You’ve got the fourth gate pick for tomorrow, what’s going to be crucial in order to get on that box? “The plan is to really focus on the start tomorrow and if I can get away in the top five I think my speed today shows that I can run that pace. [Simpson had the second fastest lap today] The key for tomorrow is tyre choice; it’s all about grip especially if the track is similar to today – we’re working on a solution to try and do something with Dunlop to get maximum grip for tomorrow. Normally gate pick is so important but here in Loket not at all purely because it’s a long start straight with a 180 ‘left’ so it’s fair. What the gate pick does give me is a confidence boost so I’m looking forward to it.”

By Rachel McIntyre

Photo by Ray Archer