The last pre-season International race sees #24 grab fourth place overall around the damp soil of Lacapelle-marival in France. Here’s what happened…

Shaun was lofty on the time sheets through free and timed practice (second quickest in the latter session) and was quickly figuring out the rutty and rough French mud north of Toulouse for what was the last major International meeting ahead of the launch to 2018 MXGP and the Grand Prix of Argentina in Patagonia in two weeks time.

#24 watched teammate Arnaud Tonus sustain a shoulder injury in practice that jeopardised the start of his season and was mindful of mistakes that could wreck a winter of prep for the MXGP term. There was plenty of familiar opposition and GP rivals in action under the grey skies and through the damp soil and Shaun set a decent pace to go 2-6-4 in the three motos for fourth overall. The second sprint was perhaps the trickiest of the bunch after a decision to try a different rear suspension setting did not pay-off and a small crash in one of the Lacapelle turns dropped the former British Champion out of fourth spot.

“The second moto was probably the worst after we made a bit of a mistake with the rear shock setting,” Shaun recounted. “I tried pushing it into the jumps to attack the track but it didn’t really help. Overall the track was in decent shape for the amount of rain we’d had. It was a busy day but I enjoyed it and it was good preparation because there were some fast guys here and it was worthwhile just to gauge speed.”

Simpson was up against the likes of Jeffrey Herlings, Glenn Coldenhoff, Clement Desalle, Max Anstie and Gautier Paulin for what was his second competitive outing of the pre-season period. All sights now zero-on Patagonia. “I’m going home now with some confidence and we’ll use these last few days before making the trip to Argentina to cross the ‘t’s and dot the ‘I’s,” the 29 year old added.