MXGP of Argentina Race ReportMarch 20, 2017 - 4:32 PM
The FLY Racing gear that Shaun Simpson, Arnaud Tonus and many others sport stood out in the spectacular setting of Neuquen this past weekend. The Argentine venue, which sits alongside a lake that is crystal clear, played host to round three of the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Although Tonus had never been to Neuquen, he showed some flashes of speed as soon as he took to the circuit on Saturday. He impressed in the qualifying heat too, despite a mediocre start, as he clawed his way into the top five and crossed the line in fourth. That result translated to a great start in the first of two motos. but he did not spend too much time near the front of the pack. Although he was eager to push for a spot on the podium, much like his teammate did at the previous round, a freak mechanical issue forced him to withdraw after just a couple of laps.
Tonus was eager for redemption in the second moto, but found himself on the cusp of the top ten at the end of lap one. A crash early on, which also involved Shaun Simpson, hindered him further and left him with a considerable amount of work to do. Tonus was not to be deterred, however, as he charged all the way to eleventh at the chequered flag and secured fifteenth overall on the day.
Shaun Simpson, on the other hand, had a consistent day. After qualifying eighth, the Scotsman moved forward from thirteenth on lap one of the first moto to tenth. The second moto was more eventful, however, as that crash with his teammate caused him to drop outside of the points early on. Simpson eventually secured thirteenth though, despite the fact that he stalled his machine whilst charging forward. That was enough for twelfth overall and nineteen more points; he now sits ninth in the premier division.
The Wilvo Yamaha MXGP duo were not the only FLY Racing riders inside of the top twenty, as Jose Butron and Rui Goncalves joined them. Butron had some consistent rides, while en route to sixteenth in both motos, and was chased across the line by Goncalves each time. The pair occupied the same positions in the overall classification. Tanel Leok, the second Husqvarna 8Biano Racing rider, was restricted by a DNF in the first moto, but managed to add two more points to his championship total.
Iker Larranaga Olano was the top FLY Racing rider in the MX2 class, as he built on a positive showing in Indonesia and matched that result. A pair of fifteenths left the Spaniard in fifteenth overall and helped him move from twenty-second to nineteenth in the series standings. Caleb Ward, his teammate, withdrew from the event following a crash on the first day of competition.
The Grand Prix contingent will now take another weekend off, although some will return to Europe to take part in the various national events, ahead of round four of nineteen on the first weekend in April.
Arnaud Tonus: "It has been a frustrating weekend with my results, but my speed and riding was good. We are moving in the right direction.”
Shaun Simpson: “It was a reasonably positive weekend. I was a bit disappointed with the second race, going down on the first lap with Arnaud and then stalling it on the fourth or fifth lap. It was, obviously, a little bit frustrating. I didn’t really feel too great on the track when it was just qualifying or lap times, but my race craft and fitness was coming into play. My starts were a bit worse than yesterday, but I really pushed out some laps and the first race was pretty good. I came from fourteenth or fifteenth up to tenth. My speed was decent and I could see the group just in front of me, which was pretty positive.
“In the second race I went down and then stalled, which were two quite big mistakes. Looking at the lap times and lap sheet though, there were positives to take. I’m just going to keep working on what I have been doing; things are going in the right direction. We are healthy, the bike is working great and the team morale is awesome.”
All photos MXVice.com.