Maciej Janowski roared to a stunning victory in round four in Sweden, claiming six wins on his way to an 18 point haul that throws his hat firmly back in the ring. After a mere 5 points in the previous round, the Pole’s fine performance has lifted him back to fourth in the title race. Janowski knows his way around the Cardiff track, having won here last season, but no rider has won consecutive GPs in Wales so while he will be among the front-runners, a second straight victory may be a tall order.
Freddie Lindgren claimed second place in Sweden, repairing some of the damage done in his poor previous round in Denmark. With only two wins from his seven rides, the 15 points claimed seems a reasonable return, but he has dropped further back from leader Tai Woffinden. His point scoring has been consistent but he needs to win races more frequently to start closing the gap.
Bartosz Zmarzlik had a fine meeting at the HZ Bygg Arena. Third place was a just reward for his efforts and despite being way back in the standings in eighth place, the Polish rider has contested both of the last two finals in Cardiff so can expect to be in the shake-up come Saturday evening.
Tai Woffinden may have missed out on the podium, but finishing fourth in the final was tempered by the fact that he extended his lead in the championship to 11 points. Consistency has been the key for the Scunthorpe-born star, and when not on the podium he has still been posting hefty points returns. Having contested three of the last four British GP finals, the home favourite will be roared on by a massive crowd as he seeks to claim his first ever home triumph.
Emil Sayfutdinov was far and away best of the rest in Sweden. The Russian still claimed 14 points for his evening’s efforts, more than finalist Zmarzlik. Being 6 points further back in the standings behind Lindgren, he has experience of success in Cardiff, having won in 2013, and he needs to repeat that feat in order to try and claw back Woffinden and Lindgren.
Greg Hancock was sixth in Sweden and while it is taking its time, he does seem to be returning to more consistent form. The veteran American has won twice in Cardiff and is a popular figure with the British crowd. Having been forced to miss the 2017 event through injury, it would be no surprise to see Hancock involved in the final four shootout.
Jason Doyle’s title defence is surely beyond repair now. Winning only one heat in Sweden, a 9 point evening fell well short of what he needs to move further up the championship table. However, the Aussie claimed second step on the podium in 2017 and with his need for points becoming ever more urgent, he has the class to get involved.
Artem Laguta has exceeded expectations and while he didn’t make the final in Sweden, he did claim another two victories to keep him in the chasing pack in the standings. Yet to have a poor meeting, an appearance in the last four in Cardiff would be new territory, but the Russian’s consistency shows no signs of faltering and may propel him into the sharp end come Saturday.
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Once Cardiff is complete, the title race will be at the halfway mark. When Tai Woffinden falters, it tends to only be in the final, as evidenced by his fourth round performance in Sweden. Having extended his lead without featuring on the podium, he comes to his home race contented, determined and with a raucous support awaiting him, so we foresee a triumphant night for Britain’s finest.