FLY Racing MXGP Qatar Race ReportFebruary 27, 2017 - 5:13 PM
The Losail International Circuit, located just outside of Doha, played host to the first round of the FIM Motocross World Championship this past weekend. The unique race, which takes place beneath the night sky, was tackled by a gaggle of the FLY Racing athletes that reside in the MXGP series, such as Arnaud Tonus and Shaun Simpson.
Speaking of Tonus, he silenced the doubters immediately on the first day of racing and ensured that FLY Racing apparel was visible around the top five. A seventh in the MXGP qualifying race set him up well for the main motos. His Wilvo Yamaha MXGP teammate, Shaun Simpson, was not as fortunate, as a crash on lap one of the heat left him with a mediocre gate pick on a one-lined circuit.
Tonus continued his run of good form in the first of two MXGP motos that were run, as he battled forward from the cusp of the top ten to steal seventh. The second moto was not as positive, however, as a crash on lap one left him right at the back, then another fall restricted him further. A nineteenth in that race was enough to give him fourteenth overall, which was just two spots ahead of his YZ450F stablemate.
Another mistake hindered Shaun Simpson in moto one, so he had to push forward from the back to seventeenth for a second time. Positives could be taken from the final outing, however, as he escaped a chaotic start unscathed and battled just outside of the top ten. A fourteenth was his finish and best result of the weekend. Jose Butron, a former contender in MX2, was the best-placed rider in FLY Racing, as a twelfth and thirteenth in the two motos left him thirteenth overall in the premier division.
Tanel Leok and Rui Goncalves, the Husqvarna 8Biano Racing duo, ensured that there were five sets of FLY Racing gear in the top twenty, as they finished eighteenth and nineteenth respectively. Their MX2 teammate, Iker Larranaga Olano, scored his first points of the season also, thanks to a nineteenth in the second moto.
The Grand Prix contingent will now head towards Indonesia, as the second round will be held on the all-new Pangkal Pinang circuit this weekend.
Shaun Simpson: “I think the start of the year, for me, has been a bit different. Pre-season did not go that well and I usually start here pretty well. If you look back over the last couple of years, I have always started in the top ten and this will definitely be the first year that I have not done that. It is a bit disappointing. The track was different this year, but they were conditions that I would normally like. It felt like I was slightly off set-up wise from the get-go this weekend, but I made a few changes and some progress. There are plenty of positives to take.”
Arnaud Tonus: “There were some positive things, for sure. I am happy with my bike and the work that the team have done so far. I was pretty happy about the way I rode in the first race and my speed was good. I had a crash on the first lap of the second race, came back again and had another crash. It was just a struggle after that.”