Grand Prix of Belgium winner Shaun Simpson has been given a factory 450SX-F from KTM for the four remaining rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship in Italy, Holland, Mexico and the USA as well as the Motocross of Nations at Ernee at the end of September.
The Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM rider received confirmation from Sport Director Pit Beirer early this week that he can rely on a 2016 SX-F and the latest material in his bid to finish in the top five of the MXGP standings.
Simpson had been using a 2015 model in his privateer set-up and raced the ’16 model for the first time two weeks ago with his run to fourth position at the Unadilla AMA Pro National meeting in New York for what was round 10 of 12 in the American series.
Simpson will be KTM’s leading rider at the Grand Prix of Lombardia and the Mantova circuit this weekend with Red Bull factory riders Tony Cairoli, Ken De Dycker and Tommy Searle all nursing injuries. The Scot is sixth in the MXGP table and just four points away from Max Nagl. He is also unbeaten in the British Championship after six of eight rounds and is hoping to confirm a successful title defence in the coming weeks.
“It has been a whirlwind since Lommel and getting the news from Pit that I’ll have the works bike for the rest of the season was a great reward from KTM for what has been a long but satisfying year of racing so far,” he said.
“I have ridden the bike in some tests for WP [suspension] and then really liked it when I was given the ‘2016’ by Roger De Coster at Unadilla. Overall it just feels really nice to be getting close to Austria again and feeling their support. I started the year aiming to have factory backing for 2016 and that has happened. We have a few more goals to try and reach this season but that’s already a pretty big one.”
The 27-year-old has been promised works machinery for 2016 but it is still not clear what team he will represent and there is even a rumour that the works Rockstar Energy Suzuki squad are interested in his services as well as the Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna team.