Nicki Pedersen will have been on nobody’s radar for a victory in Sweden in round six, so the veteran’s win will have been particularly satisfying. Never lacking in self-confidence, the Dane has always believed that when clear of injuries and possessing the necessary power, he can still mix it with the best. His victory was his first in three years, and fully deserved, but with four meetings remaining it is hard to see it as more than a memorable night in the twilight of his career.
Matej Zagar claimed second step on the podium in Malilla, but more importantly the highest points haul of the evening, adding 16 points to his season’s total. At three points short of the top eight, a consistent return to form for Zagar could see him secure a spot on next season’s circuit
Freddie Lindgren responded well to his poor British GP performance, claiming third step on the podium at the G&B Arena. The Swede has cut the deficit to Woffinden to 17 points, but needs to start posting some hefty scores to close the gap more significantly. A heavy crash in a meeting in Tarnow on Sunday, however, has caused him hand and thigh injuries, ending his week’s domestic duties. While he is hopeful of being given the green light for Gorzow, any impairment to his abilities could effectively end his chances of this year’s title.
Martin Vaculik was the surprise finalist on the night in Sweden. Although missing out on the podium steps, his final appearance represents the end of a long route back to full fitness after some horrific injuries. Although too far back to even trouble the 2019 qualifying places, the Slovak could yet steal some significant points from the frontrunners in the closing stages of the season and improve his possibilities of a wildcard entry next season.
|World Championship Winner||
Championship leader Tai Woffinden suffered a frustrating night in Sweden. Ten points is a low return by the Brit’s standards, and he posted only two race wins. A 17-point lead with four meetings remaining is still a tall order for the chasing pack to overcome, but with several riders making inroads, the Scunthorpe-born leader needs a good score in Gorzow to keep them at bay.
Bartosz Zmarzlik was the form man going into Malilla, and his storm up the table was only halted by a semi-final disqualification. Having taken four victories on the way to the final eight, he still managed to take another four points out of Woffinden’s lead. With home support and in excellent spirits, the Pole is likely to be the man to beat.
Maciej Janowski kept his name in the frame with a semi-final appearance last time out. Having qualified for the semi-finals through only four rides, he is another home favourite who may feel that there were more points on the offing in Sweden and he will prove another difficult rider to tame.
Patryk Dudek is the third of the Polish contingent returning home for round seven, and while not in the group trying to haul back Woffinden in the table, he is healthily placed for retaining his spot for 2019. A ten-point return from Malilla means he is now up to sixth in the standings, and with raucous home fans on his side he could well take a huge step towards securing another season of GP racing.
Tai Woffinden’s lead is still a healthy one and he remains a consistent semi-finalist, enough to stay ahead of the pack. With three more rounds remaining after this weekend’s Grand Prix of Poland, the pretenders to his throne must step up their efforts. Expect Bartosz Zmarzlik to enjoy home advantage on his way to victory.