We caught up with Wilvo Yamaha’s Shaun Simpson ahead of his FIM World Motocross Championship comeback in Ottobiano for the FIAT Professional FULLBACK MXGP of Lombardia.

It’s a great interview with the multi-time British champion – Simmo reveals some crucial detail on his injury woes, how he worked to be fitter than ever, bike set-up and more.

Dirt Bike Rider: Welcome back Shaun. You’ve missed the last three GPs with a hand injury picked up in Latvia. Can you just recap how it happened and what you’ve had done?


Shaun Simpson: There were three rollers in Latvia, I went off track and hit a steel cable that was holding up a pole. I didn’t crash but it broke the middle metacarpal bone in my left hand. It wasn’t a straightforward break though, it was splintered like a piece of wood rather than being straight across, and it was fractured into two or three little parts so it wasn’t the easiest for the surgeon to fix.

He managed to get a couple of screws in and get the plate right on top of the bone with the fixings at either end. He did a really good job, I was pretty impressed when he showed me the x-rays after the operation, it looked pretty good. He said without the operation it would take about three months to heal but with the plate, about four to five weeks and he was pretty much bang on. I went back after five weeks and there was bone calcifying around the plate on the x-ray. I was happy with that and he was delighted so we managed to get back on the bike straight away.

DBR: Have you managed to do any cardio or gym work to keep your fitness going or did you just take a rest while your hand healing?

SS: I think there were two days when I didn’t train. After the surgery I felt pretty groggy for a couple of days and not really up to doing much, then I started some easy spin sessions on my spin bike, then managed to get out on the road on my road bike doing about 300km a week, my wife Rachel was riding London to Paris so I did some rides with her, we did 100km one Sunday, so with no racing it was nice to get outside, get some fresh air and fill my days training and stretching.

I actually started really getting into it, analysing everything I was eating and I would say I’ve had a really good five or six weeks just getting myself properly on point with my training. I would say in the gym I’m probably fitter than before the injury. It was a lot of time to really focus on that but it’s easy to focus on it when you don’t have to focus on your riding.

Getting back on the bike now, I’ve done about 10 days.

DBR: How is your hand when you’re riding?

SS: It feels really good on the bike, it gets a bit stiff off the bike and I’m just missing a bit of movement. It doesn’t grip the bar quite as good so I’ve modified my grip to make it a bit larger. Riding the bike again feels really good but having a cast on my hand has made it a bit weaker and I’ve got a couple of blisters that I’ve taped up. I felt really good for having five weeks off – I don’t feel like I’ve lost any bike fitness or speed so I feel really positive about coming back here.

Coming back at this race was always the plan and I’ve managed to make that happen

DBR: With missing three Grands Prix you’ve dropped to 14th in the championship, what are the goals for the rest of the season?

SS: I don’t think I’ve finished outside the top 10 for the last few years so I’d like to say we’re just over halfway in the championship, nine rounds left so a lot of races and a lot of points up for grabs, a lot of good races for me. Everyone knows I like Assen and Lommel, I think I’ll like it here and next week in Portugal. It’s important to keep riding strong and battling until the end of the season, some guys lose motivation near the end so definitely another top 10 in the championship.

That’s not the only goal – I definitely want a couple more podiums before the end of the year and maybe a win if we can. I just want to ride consistent, getting injured isn’t my thing and it was unfortunate what happened, especially with the bike going so well before Latvia I felt like I was beginning to turn it on again, feeling at home on the bike and within myself. So a few small goals to keep myself happy and the team, I’m not saying I’m coming back and doing this or that but we’ve been working hard together.

Even while I’ve been off injured we’ve been trying to develop the bike, my team-mate Arnaud has been riding really well so everything is moving in the right direction and being on a two-year deal gives me peace of mind. I’ve got the rest of this year then a solid off-season so all things considered I’m in a pretty good place.

DBR: Just talking about the bike, you told us before Latvia that you’d found some settings that you were much happier with. What did you change?

SS: We just went slightly the wrong way with the engine character and suspension being a bit soft. We weren’t miles away but the little tweaks to the engine and suspension gave me a lot more comfort and stability on the bike. It felt like I could push harder and not feel that I was getting out of shape or out of control where as before if I pushed hard it started to feel a bit edgy. It feels easier to go faster now. At this level, if you can feel safer going faster that’s obviously a good thing.

MXGP of Lombardia Pit Chat with Shaun Simpson