Positive Start to the Penultimate Round of MXGP in Assen
An encouraging start to the Dutch Grand Prix saw Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Shaun Simpson and Jeremy Seewer qualify in ninth and eleventh respectively, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek suffered from a high fever as a result of an infection, but still managed to battle back from a big crash for fourteenth place.
Assen is a track that is built within the confines of the famed Dutch TT Circuit specifically for the MXGP of The Netherlands, only four days prior to the event. The track is made out of tons of imported sand, and while the motocross riders are familiar with deep, rough and wavy sand tracks they tend to agree that the shape Assen takes is nothing like a traditional sand circuit.
Wilvo Yamaha Official MXGP's Shaun Simpson won the inaugural Grand Prix in Assen back in 2015, and after a challenging season this year, the 30 year-old enters the Grand Prix this weekend determined to make a statement.
After posting a season-best result in timed training where he wrapped the session in second-place, Simpson lined up with great expectation for the Qualifying Race. The Scot got off to a decent start and was in full attack mode as he pressured Clement Desalle for sixth before he got too close to the Belgian, clipped his rear wheel and fell. He managed to get to his feet quickly but the mistake was too costly in a 20-minute race to fight back. He crossed the line in ninth, one position ahead of his teammate Jeremy Seewer who put in a solid ride for eleventh place.
Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP's Jeremy Van Horebeek missed the first practice session due to a high fever, and despite feeling incredibly ill, the 28 year-old Belgian put in a gritty ride to finish fourteenth after crashing out of seventh-place on Lap-3.
The deceiving nature of the sand that appears soft but is strangely hard and slick in places caused a fair amount of carnage in the MX2 qualifier. All three Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 riders suffered as a result with Ben Watson and Anthony Rodriguez falling on the opening lap, while Jago Geerts had to dash forward from outside of the top-twenty.
After dusting himself, Watson regrouped and stormed through the pack, passing his teammate, Geerts, with 3-laps to go for tenth-place. Geerts finished eleventh while Rodriguez could not escape the drama and ended up crossing the line in twenty-first place.
9th MXGP Qualifying Race
I kind of put too much pressure on myself by setting the second fastest time in Timed Practice. I did go after it. I wanted to do well but then after that, I wanted to do the same in the race. I wanted to be inside the top-five. I got caught behind Desalle, he was sixth, but like a moving road block for me. I followed him for too long and then eventually I got desperate and I knew I had to try and make it happen, and then when I made the move I touched his rear wheel and I went down. Overall, I am pretty pleased. It is all about tomorrow and I am confident that two top-fives are on the cards.
11th MXGP Qualifying Race
The Qualifying Race was quite positive considering how the day started for me. I don't know why, but every time I come to this track I seem to struggle with setting up the bike and getting used to the track. You can ride sand anywhere, but there is nowhere like here in Assen. I had a good start but had some back luck in the first turn. I was outside the top-20, but managed to come back to eleventh, which is not bad. I am starting to get it dialed in out here and find my flow and that is the goal. Top-five tomorrow might be a bit tough, but I think that if I get good starts, I can make it happen. Top-seven will be good enough for me.
Jeremy Van Horebeek
14th MXGP Qualifying Race
My body is so painful everywhere. I have a urinary tract infection and I have a high fever. It is getting a bit better, but this morning was really bad. I rested this morning and tried to save some energy for the heat race. I made a mistake in the race because I had no rhythm on the track, but for me, fourteenth is not so bad because I feel I could easily be inside the top-ten.
10th MX2 Qualifying Race
It was not a great day. I crashed on the first lap after a terrible start, so I was really far behind and then I had some trouble when I was coming back with riders falling in front of me. I lost a lot of time, which is not what you need in a 20-minute race, but I managed to get back to tenth-place, which isn't great but it is okay considering. I am happy with my riding but there are a few points to work on to be better tomorrow.
11th MX2 Qualifying Race
I made a mistake on the start, so I was not in a good place after the first corner, I think outside of the top-20, but I came back to ninth-place but got passed by two guys. I think my riding was OK, but I do hope it's a bit better tomorrow so that I am inside the top-five.