Shaun Simpson interview – Part II

Last week we spoke to Shaun Simpson about his new Yamaha ride and this week we talk about his team-mate Arnaud Tonus and what he thinks of some changes in the MXGP class.

MXlarge: I did an interview with Arnaud (Tonus), your new team-mate a week or so ago, and we talked about you, and we both agreed you are a good guy and open minded. I said to him I can’t imagine having a better team-mate than you, but on the other hand, Arnaud is also a really nice, open minded guy. I can imagine you guys working really well together. He has a great technique and I can imagine you both learning a lot from each other.

Simpson: Yes, definitely, and I totally understand where you are coming from. Arnaud is a top bloke, we have ridden together with Dixon in 2012 and he is on top of my list of team-mates. He is really easy going, never makes a fuss, never makes a scene. He always tries really hard, he comes from a really solid background, his parents a lovely people also. When he goes out on track he gives 100%. I feel like I am a few years older, so maybe with my experience I can help him with some things and I am sure with his style and technique are some of the best out there and I can learn from him. I am a hard working, but I don’t have the skill set as Arnaud. Arnaud is a much more talented rider than I am. I think we will work really well together and the whole crew is great, we have a really good crew working together.

MXLarge: Obviously we have the Herlings factor for 2017. What is your opinion on him coming into the class?

Simpson: I think there is no doubt Herlings came through as the same time as Ken Roczen, and Roczen has done amazing things both in America and in the GPs, and is a world class rider, just like Jeffrey. I think there is no doubt Jeffrey will ride up front, win races and be in the championship hunt. But Jeffrey does get over excited, and too often makes mistakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won the title, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he made a few mistakes and loses points that way. The last few years he has missed out on titles, and a lot of it has been from stupid mistakes he made himself. If he can reign that in, he is in for a shot at the title. But he will have a it tough, it isn’t like MX2 where he gets a bad start and passed up until fifth place. In the 450 class you are eating roost outside the top 15 and I can’t see him making bad starts and coming through. There are so many good guys in the MXGP class. You know everyone thought Villopoto was going to come over and whitewash the whole thing, even he didn’t have an easy path.

MXlarge: As far as next year, you have Jeffrey moving up, Max Anstie moving up, Arnaud is back. We say it every year, that MXGP just gets better, and better, and better. Can you see next year being another classic?

Simpson: I think so, it has all the makings of being another classic. Some riders drop off, like David Philippaerts and you have new guys coming in and old guys going out. It’s going to be interesting. I mean Febvre wants redemption, Cairoli has something to prove and regain his title, Paulin has changed teams, Desalle has a shocker this year and will want to do better.

MXLarge: What about the calendar? Two extra rounds.

Simpson: I haven’t looked too close to it. I think two extra rounds is a little heavier and no big break in the summer. I always had the British championship to keep me busy and we don’t know at the moment if we will do the British championship, we are still working on that. If I do the British championship then I will have something like 29 races, plus Internationals, that makes my season pretty packed out. If I don’t do the British championship then I will have a pretty easy season compared to previous years. I don’t know if I dislike any of the tracks they put on the calendar, and we have some back like Sweden and Portugal. I am not sure about having the fly away races so far apart. I mean we will have to fly back to Europe from Argentina, then back from Europe back to Mexico, which doesn’t make sense for me. That will create more costs for the teams and more travelling. In saying that we won’t lose a week on the bikes, we will have to see how that goes.

MXlarge: So what are the chances of you doing the Maxxis in 2017?

Simpson: I think it’s like 50/50 at the moment. The last few years KTM UK had supported Steve Turner Racing, and it was important to do those races. Moving to Yamaha, its supported by Europe and they are not too bothered with doing the British championship. They just want to focus on the GP’s and as a British rider I want to race in my own country and see my fans, and if we can work out a deal for Yamaha UK, then we will see. I also have to look at the travel and see if its worthwhile doing it. There will be news on that in the coming weeks.

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