Shaun Simpson set the fastest time in the Indonesian MXGP free practice that was quickly abandoned before qualifying. In the carnage of deep mud on a circuit that has been lashed by rain all week, Simpson only completed four laps and was more than a second quicker than Jeffrey Herlings from Romain Febvre, Tony Cairoli and Kevin Strijbos. Jake Nicholls was 11th and and Max Anstie 15th. It now seems likely the riders will go to the gate for tomorrow’s race in the practice order from today, so Simpson will be on pole.
Briton Simpson said: “It was actually nice to get out on the track but unfortunately the track wasn’t living up to our great hopes! After the rain we’ve had it was really muddy and I was really surprised at how deep it was.
“There’s quite a hard base but through our practice it just seemed to dry up. And it was getting heavier every lap we did. I tried to take some creative lines to avoid going through the deepest parts of the mud, going outside then inside. And ended up with the fastest time. It’s not entirely surprising as I’m good when it comes to the muddy conditions. Coming from Scotland it’s nothing new for me. I hope I can get two good starts and make no mistakes and get two good results.”
Another rider liking the mud was Herlings, still riding in pain from hand surgery just a few weeks ago. He said the mud was much less strain on his injured arm than big jumps of a track like last week’s Qatar MXGP opener.
In the MX2 class, Brian Bogers was quickest from Jeremy Seewer, Davy Pootjes, Calvin Vlaanderen and Brit Adam Sterry. Ben Watson was 17th and Conrad Mewse 30th.
The event today has not been fully axed as the women had their practice session and will race today. Courtney Duncan set the quickest time while the sole Brit in the race was Elaine MacEachern in ninth. The track was so bad that some riders didn’t complete a single lap.