Simpson talks about his Assen MXGP win
The brand new and temporary sandy racing course at Assen was ripe territory for Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM at the Grand Prix of the Netherlands as Shaun Simpson rode to victory for the second time this season with a win and third position in the two motos. In doing so the 27 year old has moved up to fourth in the FIM Motocross World Championship standings and is the leading rider for the KTM brand.
Apparently more than 25,000 cubic tonnes of sand had been imported into the oldest venue on the MotoGP/motorsport calendar. The terrain was fine and loose and gave the surface a ‘beach-like’ texture. Small bumps and ripples were forged by six racing classes across the weekend. It was an atmospheric event with 37,000 fans all housed in the permanent grandstand that ran the entire periphery of the motocross layout that was compact and short.
A damaged gear lever after a run-in with Jeremy Van Horebeek left Simpson stuck in ‘third’ during Saturday’s Qualification Heat and he rode to fifth place in tricky circumstances. The Scot had to deal with a small piece of adversity again at the start of the first moto on Sunday. Under the gaze of the massive stadium seating Shaun briefly fell on the second corner and fortunately was able to get up and back in the race before he lost too many positions in the top ten. A demonstration of superb attacking and confident riding drew ‘24’ up to Gautier Paulin by lap seven. A circulation later and he was in the lead and never looked back as he built an advantage over the Frenchman. The chequered flag meant Simpson’s third moto win this season and the fourth of his career in the premier class.
The exertions of the comeback told in the second moto. Shaun quickly made his way to third place but was unable to follow Romain Febvre and then deal with Glenn Coldenhoff in the second half of the distance. He maintained third spot which was good enough by at least four points to gain the top step of the podium over the Yamaha rider who was crowned World Champ at the finish.
Shaun now has 437 points in the standings and is unlikely to catch Evgeny Bobryshev who is 62 adrift with just 100 left to win this season. He is 23 ahead of Max Nagl.
Ben Watson finished a decent eleventh overall. The teenager scored fourteenth and tenth in the two motos on the 250SX-F and his second race performance marked his second best of the season. In the final outing for the EMX250 European Championship James Cottrell could not post any points while James Dunn was fifteenth.
A relatively short trip back across the channel lies in store for Hitachi Construction Machinery Revo KTM this week and then up to Preston Docks for the seventh round of eight in the Maxxis British Championship and a meeting where Shaun Simpson can successfully defend his national title and own the number one plate for 2016.
“I spent a lot of energy in the first moto. I spun out on the third corner. I was fourth, I think, and dropped down to about eleventh. I managed to come up through for the win but maybe used a bit too much energy. The track seemed to be a lot faster in the second moto and Bobryshev set a quick pace and Romain tracked him down. I held a good pace to finish third that handed me the overall quite comfortably. I’m obviously really happy to be back on the top step and we’ve had some great help and support from KTM and the guys like Jeremy over the last couple of weeks. We’ve won on the ’15 and the ’16 bike now and there are a couple of big races left to finish the year strong.”
Roger Magee, Team Principal:
“Another visit to the top step of the MXGP podium for us and it is a fantastic achievement by Shaun and the team to again be winners in this difficult class and the very highest level of the sport. It was a good event here at Assen on a track that was far from easy. So far everything is moving on a very bright path for us this season and there are four big meetings coming up now where we hope we can continue to give back to partners like Hitachi Construction Machinery, Revo, KTM and everybody else who helps us go racing.”