Losail was hard and fast for the opening practice and qualification session of the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship and Shaun solidly built his way into the day by scoring eighth position in the Heat race under the Qatari lights on Friday night.
The 27 year old displayed his usual guile and racecraft on the opening circulation of the twenty minute and two lap sprint to move up from a slot outside the top ten and nestle into seventh spot. Steering the Wilvo Virus Performance KTM, Shaun closed on the battle for the top five and was pressurising the back wheel of former world champion Tony Cairoli for fourth. Exercising caution through the initial throes of competitive action this year Shaun then made a mistake at the end of the race and dropped two positions down the ranking to classify eighth.
“There are points to improve on but I’m reasonably happy with today,” he said. “I went 9-9-8 through the sessions and that is fine to begin, and build on tomorrow and then next week in Thailand. I had a great first lap and made a lot of places but I want a better start tomorrow so I won’t have to do it again! So, overall, not bad: will do better.”
It was a hard day for Shaun’s MX2 teammate Adam Sterry. The youngster came up short on a jump and the impact required a visit to the medical centre where the former EMX250 race winner was confirmed with a broken left wrist.
Shaun’s first race gets underway at 15.15 GMT tomorrow
1. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), 24:54.670; 2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:01.814; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:06.734; 4. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:16.642; 5. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:19.578; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:24.719; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:26.985; 8. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), +0:28.083; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:29.186; 10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:30.329; 11. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:39.504; 12. Valentin Guillod (SUI, Yamaha), +0:40.586; 13. Jose Butron (ESP, KTM), +0:43.419; 14. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Honda), +0:59.196; 15. Tanel Leok (EST, Husqvarna), +1:00.165; 16. Milko Potisek (FRA, Yamaha), +1:08.852; 17. Ben Townley (NZL, Suzuki), +1:25.015; 18. Christophe Charlier (FRA, Husqvarna), +1:31.096; 19. Alex Snow (GBR, Yamaha), +1:34.825; 20. Kei Yamamoto (JPN, Honda), +1:55.131; 21. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), -11 lap(s);