British Champion Shaun Simpson will miss his first FIM Motocross World Championship Grand Prix since 2009 this weekend with the 28-year-old electing to forego round 12 of 18 of the 2016 series and the Lombardia round at Mantova in Italy to recuperate from his broken right hand.
Simpson already had to deal with withdrawal from his home event at Matterley Basin last weekend and with Mantova hard-upon the Scot needed to look at the calendar of MXGP and British Championship events, realign priorities with his Wilvo Virus Performance KTM team and make a call.
“I went for a check-up again after Matterley because the track was pretty heavy for my hand and from the x-rays the doctors were not overly impressed with the healing process after three weeks,” #24 reveals. “I went for an MRI and CT scan to look at the calcification of the bone and the position of it.
“It was a much more in-depth and actually turned out to be pretty good and better than we saw on the x-ray. The way the hand was feeling meant that doctor gave me a brace to immobilise it. I can keep on training and doing things but when I’m not up to much then I need to keep the hand set; just to give it as much time as possible to heal-up.”
Simpson, who is eighth in the MXGP standings after missing races in France and the second moto at Matterley and is top British rider once more, will now be a TV viewer for the second visit by the series to Italy this year. “We decided to take this weekend off and to miss a week of riding to help the process,” he added. “It was not an easy decision and it is seven years since I last missed a Grand Prix. It is going to be strange this weekend staying at home and watching on TV but this should get me back on track for the British Championship which is our main goal for this year and my third consecutive title and the fourth overall in my career.
“I’m sitting with a 21 point lead and after Scotland [round five next week] we have another free weekend before round six. I think I can use this summer period break in MXGP to come back strong for Loket, Lommel, Switzerland, Assen and the two final GPs in America.”
“I think it is the smartest decision overall considering how the season will pan out,” he continued. “It has been a tough year with the illness from Thailand to then being wiped out by [Alessandro] Lupino in Mexico which was another set-back. Just when I was coming back to fitness and form in Spain then this happens. Anyway I want to finish strong with a look towards next year.”