Swedish champion Andreas Jonsson won the FIM Nice Italian Speedway Grand Prix in Terenzano on Saturday, and says his victory was a “step in the right direction” towards his World Championship dream.
The Dackarna and Zielona Gora man topped the rostrum to climb up to eighth place – the final automatic qualification spot for the 2012 series. He is unlikely to make a push for the world title this term as American legend Greg Hancock extended his lead at the SGP summit to 22 points by pipping Antonio Lindback to second place by half a wheel.
But Jonsson has higher aspirations than just being part of the Grand Prix scene. He remains determined to become his nation’s first world champion since Tony Rickardsson lifted his record-equalling sixth title in 2005, and AJ feels his Terenzano triumph could be a turning point in his racing career.
He said: “It is really important for me and the goal of my career is to be world champion one day. This is one step in the right direction. But it’s no good if you win one Grand Prix and come last in 10, so I have to get it more consistent – definitely. My goal for this year is to focus and try to reach the finals. If you do that, you score enough points to stay in the higher positions.”
Jonsson’s form has been sensational in the Polish Ekstraliga and Swedish Elitserien this term and he has been running his Grand Prix rivals ragged on a weekly basis. The Stockholm-born man hopes he can produce the same consistency in the World Championship throughout the second half of 2011.
He said: “It has been going well for the last month. We’ve found a few good setups with the engines and I’ve been feeling pretty comfortable. I just haven’t had any Grand Prix rounds in this time and I’ve been doing really well in all my meetings. This has proved I can do well in the GP too, and hopefully I can perform just as well in the next one.”
Jonsson admits he failed to hit his brilliant best in the SGP series’ opening rounds, but the rider is glad he persisted with his engines and feels they are now producing the results he needs.
He added: “I’ve been riding pretty much the same engines all the time and I feel I’m getting to know the bikes better and better. That’s what it’s all about; making the setup right for you, riding the bikes as much as you can to get used to them and make them so that you can use them 110 percent.”
Defending champion Tomasz Gollob arrived at Terenzano as red-hot favourite after dropping just three points from a possible 48 during his past two visits. But his love affair with the Motoclub Olimpia circuit ended in heartbreak as he exited the meeting before the semi-final stages on five points.
It was also a difficult night for Britain’s sole SGP rider Chris Harris. Despite winning heat seven, his six-point tally wasn’t enough to take him into the meeting’s latter stages.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (AFTER SIX ROUNDS) : 1 Greg Hancock 95, 2 Tomasz Gollob 73, 3 Jaroslaw Hampel 65, 4 Chris Holder 63, 5 Emil Sayfutdinov 59, 6 Jason Crump 56, 7 Nicki Pedersen 56, 8 Andreas Jonsson 53, 9 Kenneth Bjerre 50, 10 Freddie Lindgren 47, 11 Antonio Lindback 41, 12 Janusz Kolodziej 38, 13 Chris Harris 33, 14 Rune Holta 29, 15 Magnus Zetterstrom 12, 16 Artem Laguta 10, 17 Matej Zagar 9, 18 Thomas H Jonasson 8, 19 Scott Nicholls 5, 20 Damian Balinski 4, 21 Matej Kus 3, 22 Mikkel B Jensen 2, 23 Tai Woffinden 2, 24 Simon Gustafsson 1.
FIM NICE ITALIAN SGP POINTS : 1 Andreas Jonsson 17, 2 Greg Hancock 15, 3 Antonio Lindback 17, 4 Kenneth Bjerre 12, 5 Jaroslaw Hampel 12, 6 Emil Sayfutdinov 11, 7 Janusz Kolodziej 10, 8 Matej Zagar 9, 9 Freddie Lindgren 7, 10 Jason Crump 6, 11 Chris Harris 6, 12 Chris Holder 6, 13 Tomasz Gollob 5, 14 Rune Holta 5, 15 Magnus Zetterstrom 3, 16 Nicki Pedersen 3, 17 Mattia Carpanese DNR, 18 Guglielmo Franchetti DNR.