Agueda, one hour south of Porto, is the host venue for the sixth round of the 2011 FIM MX1 world championship. For LS Honda Racing star Shaun Simpson the undulating course with its typical red soil was a happy hunting ground last year, having secured third in qualifying and fourth in the opening moto.
After the French GP, Simpson drove down to Portugal while team-mate Ken De Dycker chose to return home. In Saint-Jean d’Angely Simpson was unable to replicate the great form he showed in qualification on Sunday but Shaun is determined to get some more top 10 results under his belt this weekend…
Between Agueda and La Baneza, the location of the Spanish GP, De Dycker will join his GP colleagues who will travel from one race to the other by camper. We grabbed the opportunity to sit down with Ken in Belgium and get his opinion on the coming GP.
TJ: You’ve put together some fine moto results in Portugal – third last year, two seconds in 2009. What do you think about the track?
KDD:”It’s a track that I’ve gone well at in the past and I hope to fight for a top five and mix it up some more with the front runners. My speed is good for the moment, I just lost too much time passing slower guys in France and obviously I need some better starts! Often the track is wet In Portugal and Agueda becomes very technical. Slower tracks tend to suit me better anyway.”
TJ: Agueda is the venue of some career landmarks for you…
KDD: “It’s where I got my first top three moto back in 2006 and my first moto top five in 2004. That was also on a Honda! I enjoy the jumping in Agueda and I don’t mind how it becomes very bumpy after a while. But I think they should tweak the track a little bit, to keep it fresh you know. The place hasn’t really changed since I first went there.”
TJ: What have you been up to this week?
KDD: “I did moto on Tuesday and Wednesday, cycling on Thursday and a lot of my regular physical routine. However, I have been careful to take some rest as well. I’m keen to find out about the weather this weekend because to people in Belgium and Holland going to Portugal sounds quite exotic. But as far as I can remember we always had rain at some point in Agueda!”
TJ: With these back-to-back GPs do you have to be more careful about recuperation compared to GPs where you had more time in between?
KDD: “It’s not necessarily like that. You have to listen to your body and you have to pace yourself because the season is long. I dug deep in Saint Jean d’Angely and at the start of the week it was obvious during training that my heart rates were a bit higher than usual because of fatigue. But everything is okay now and I’m ready to rock!”