Monster Energy Yamaha’s Shaun Simpson continued to build on his recent run of consistent speed and form to walk away from Kegums with eighth overall…
The Grand Prix of Latvia was the 10th round of 16 in the FIM Motocross World Championship. The Scot pushed for fourth place on his factory YZ450FM across the fast and loose sandy soil on Saturday during the qualification heat but a small mistake on the final lap saw him lose a slot and roll into the gate on a cold, windy and rainy Sunday with sixth spot.
The terrain was slippery, very bumpy and rough in sections while hard and full-gas in others and demanded respect and concentration. In the changeable conditions that alternated sunshine and torrential showers – that affected the track even more – Simpson rode to two eighth positions in front of 21,000 weather-beaten spectators.
The 24 year old almost secured seventh at the close of the opening race but an altercation with a backmarker on the penultimate circulation meant that Clement Desalle was able to relegate the #24 rider. A bright launch in the second moto saw Simpson battling strongly for second place with Gautier Paulin until losing a bit of momentum in the final third of the race distance – a consequence of slight illness experienced since Saturday morning.
The former British Champion – flying solo in the works team after recent operations for Steven Frossard (knee) and David Philippaerts (wrists) – is 11th in the MX1 championship standings. Monster Energy Yamaha now head directly east for the inauguration of Semigorje as a venue for the Grand Prix of Russia (only the second FIM meeting this century in the country) next weekend.
“I wasn’t feeling too great this weekend and after putting in a fast lap on Saturday I thought ‘this is going to be hard work’,” says Shaun. “My speed was good and the heat race went OK and I was happy with sixth for the gate. I didn’t get the best start in the first moto but was holding seventh until Desalle got me on the last lap. A backmarker majorly held me up and I was annoyed because I was working to keep him and Paulin behind. I was away well in the second moto and was behind Cairoli when he made a mistake and Paulin almost landed on him. It was really sketchy. I was doing well and pushing Paulin for second place and I felt OK but in the last fifteen minutes I just started getting a bit tired and couldn’t push any more. I couldn’t hold off Tanel [Leok] and finished eighth overall. It was a consistent day and the kind of results I was looking for at the beginning of the year but I guess after what happened in Sweden I was hoping for a bit more. I think after a small rest we can look forward to Russia.”