Martin Vaculek claimed his first GP victory since 2012 in Slovenia. It was a great way to mark his return to the elite singles tournament, but consistency will be the key from now on.
Fredrik Lindgren took his early season domestic form into the GP opener and matched Vaculek on points scored, just being pipped in the final. His tally of 16 points from his seven rides was achieved with nothing worse than second place, so Lindgren will have every reason to go to Poland confident of continuing his challenge.
Patryk Dudek completed the podium at Krsko, but in reality he faded somewhat during the meeting. After winning his opening two heats, he took only three points from his next three rides, squeaking into the semi-finals.
Jason Doyle trailed in last in the Slovenian final. However, he did claim three heat victories from his first four outings. Gate four at Krsko provided no grip and therefore no heat winners for the entire meeting, so Doyle will feel that, with a little better fortune or, indeed, better track preparation, he may have been able to take home some silverware.
If the opening event of the season proved one thing it was that there is a fine talent pool on show that should keep fans guessing all the way to Melbourne in October. Veteran Nicki Pedersen notched three DNFs on his card in Slovenia, which meant that Antonio Lindback was the only rider significantly outgunned on track.
The winner at this meeting last season was Tai Woffinden. The Scunthorpe-born Brit, without a British club this season, struggled somewhat in the first event with a mildly disappointing eight points, but that has traditionally been as low as his point-scoring gets so don’t be surprised to see an upturn in fortunes in Poland.
Emil Sayfutdinov’s 12-point haul suggests that his return to the series after a three-year absence comes not a moment too soon, and if his form at the opener is repeated on a regular basis then the Russian could be a genuine contender.
Current champion Greg Hancock collected 11 points and declared himself satisfied with a ‘solid start’ to his title defence. Certainly there were no suggestions that, at 46-years-old. age was starting to catch-up with the American and he has a real chance this time around.
The 2016 podium saw Hancock finish second with Matej Zagar on the third step. In Slovenia, Zagar collected a respectable ten points. His two jaunts from the dreaded gate four yielded only a single point, so there’s every chance that he could be back in the mix this time round. The Polish track had no such inconsistencies with its starting gates last season, so this event should be a far better pointer in terms of seeing the real contenders step up their challenge.
- Sports.net’s Top Tip: Greg Hancock to win at 9/1