Danish star Leon Madsen insisted he has FIM Speedway World Championship gold in his sights, but he’s ready to bide his time after winning in Warsaw on Saturday.
The Czestochowa rider topped the Boll Warsaw FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland podium at a sold-out PGE Narodowy after pouncing on a Fredrik Lindgren error to hit the front and win the final.
The Swede was second with home hero Patryk Dudek third as the Pole topped the World Championship standings with his 16-point haul.
Madsen didn’t win any of his regular heats, but made it into the semis on eight points, before finishing second to Niels-Kristian Iversen in semi-final two to reach his maiden SGP final. On his first SGP appearance since the 2013 Torun SGP, Madsen got his first win of the night when it mattered most and the European champion celebrated wildly with a 50,000-plus crowd.
Madsen made no secret of his bold SGP ambitions ahead of the meeting as he targets World Championship gold. But he insists he’s not piling the pressure on himself to land the world title at the first attempt.
He said: “I don’t need to be No.1 this year. I am here to gain a lot of experience, especially on tracks like Warsaw. I am not here just to take part. I am here to fight for the championship. It was a good round tonight and I clocked a lot of points. If I can be consistent all season, things could be quite good. But I’m not setting the bar higher. I’m just in this game to fight for the championship. I don’t put it as a goal that I must be No.1 or in the top three. You are obviously here to fight for the championship and I feel I have the quality to do that. If it’s going to be this year or next year, I don’t know. But I’m sure one day I am going to win the World Championship".
“I have to say I am very pleased and happy to get away from Warsaw with 13 points. That was probably more than I could have hoped for – it’s not an easy place to start out your GP campaign.”
Madsen is fourth in the World Championship, while Boll Warsaw SGP runner-up Lindgren bagged second in the overall standings on 15 points.
It was his third straight Warsaw final and Lindgren was delighted to leave the PGE Narodowy cauldron of noise with another podium finish.
He said: “Overall I am very happy. I really enjoy racing here in front of this crowd. It is intense and you have to give 100 percent for all four laps. I am disappointed not to win after the start I made in the final. I made a huge mistake on lap two to lose the winning position. But I am also very happy with the way I was racing, the points I scored and the way our team worked together.”
Dudek’s night was far from easy. He may have topped the World Championship standings, but he did it the hard way after an awkward crash in race 14. The Warsaw crowd implored Dudek to get to his feet and his name reverberated around PGE Narodowy again ahead of the final. The Zielona Gora and Dackarna man paid tribute to a partisan crowd.
He said: “Before the last heat, I heard my name and I was thinking ‘oh, but let’s see what happens after the heat!’ I was third, so that’s not bad. I would like to say a big, big thank you to the fans. This night was tough for me and the season has been tough for me. Today was great. I want to say a big thanks to my team, my family and my sponsors. I hope to stay in the same position at the next round. But we will see.”
Next up is the Slovenian SGP in Krsko on June 1.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Patryk Dudek 16, 2 Fredrik Lindgren 15, 3 Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, 4 Leon Madsen 13, 5 Bartosz Zmarzlik 10, 6 Antonio Lindback 10, 7 Bartosz Smektala 10, 8 Robert Lambert 8, 9 Matej Zagar 7, 10 Martin Vaculik 7, 11 Tai Woffinden 6, 12 Emil Sayfutdinov 6, 13 Jason Doyle 5, 14 Artem Laguta 4, 15 Janusz Kolodziej 4, 16 Max Fricke 3.
BOLL WARSAW SGP RESULT: 1 Leon Madsen 13, 2 Fredrik Lindgren 15, 3 Patryk Dudek 16, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, 5 Bartosz Smektala 10, 6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 10, 7 Antonio Lindback 10, 8 Robert Lambert 8, 9 Martin Vaculik 7, 10 Matej Zagar 7, 11 Emil Sayfutdinov 6, 12 Tai Woffinden 6, 13 Jason Doyle 5, 14 Janusz Kolodziej 4, 15 Artem Laguta 4, 16 Max Fricke 3, 17 Dominik Kubera DNR, 18 Rafal Karczmarz DNR.