Two lively and skilful motos in the muddy slush of Maggiora for the Grand Prix of Italy saw Shaun again showing potential for his first podium finish of 2015 in MXGP. The British Champion took sixth overall – just five points away from the bottom step of the rostrum – and only his starts handicapped a decent run that ended with a 6-5 scorecard.
His first moto launch in the sludge induced by a morning rife with thunderstorms and torrential showers was further hindered by a small crash that left the 27 year old down in twelfth on the first lap. Shaun pushed hard and unravelled some impressive pace to climb up to sixth and just couldn’t demote Alessandro Lupino for the top five.
In the second moto a freak gate bounce meant he was practically one of the last riders in the premier class along the soggy start straight but the Scot used his guile around the first half of the opening lap (surviving a near-miss with Romain Febvre) to get into the top ten and set about the likes of David Philippaerts and Todd Waters ahead of him while leaving Ken De Dycker and Febvre in his roost.
Shaun ended the day as the best-placed KTM rider with Antonio Cairoli struggling with a double fracture in his left arm.
“I cannot be disappointed. Another fifth and sixth and more solid results. Sixth overall was a bit frustrating as I am looking for those overall positions in the top five. I was expecting a bit more of myself today and my starts did let me down. I got squeezed out in the first one but I didn’t suffer too badly and then with my gate bouncing in the second moto that didn’t help at all. I felt that if I could have gotten away then I would have done some damage. My lap-times showed that my speed was there to run at the front. It was difficult to pass and if I had got Philippaerts or Todd Waters a bit earlier then I might have been able to push on to Paulin. It felt good to come from behind and charge through, especially in the first race when I went down and was back in twelfth. I felt like I was riding well. You could say that it was a bit like a lottery today but it was fun. Some of the lines developed and there were different choices; the racing was good.”
Shaun is currently seventh in the MXGP Championship standings with a 70 point gap to Evgeny Bobryshev in sixth place.
The Grand Prix of Germany is the next fixture on the schedule and the tenth round of MXGP will take place this coming weekend.
Photo by Ray Archer