Australian champion Max Fricke was delighted with “one of those memories I will never forget” as he won the Orlen FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw.
Fricke took the win in front of more than 50,000 spectators at the PGE Narodowy on Saturday night.
A great start from Fricke had him beating Leon Madsen with the Dane pushed back into second, and Swedish rider Fredrik Lindgren took third.
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With the Ukrainian invasion by Russia still fresh in the minds of the Polish crowd, there were tifos displaying the flags of both countries ahead of the race, with 100 Ukrainians special guests at the event.
The win was Fricke’s second Speedway GP victory, with his last coming in 2020 at round seven in Torun.
He said: “It’s unreal. It’s unreal to be able to say I have won a GP here in this amazing stadium in front of so many people. I really had to take a few moments, especially after the meeting, to really take in the atmosphere and the crowd. It’s definitely one of those memories I will never forget.
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“I haven’t done a lot of time racing in indoor stadiums. I have ridden in them once or twice, but a long time ago. I knew it was going to be a little trickier tonight. I was just able to feel really comfortable with my bikes. My team did a really amazing job tonight and on Friday at Qualifying Practice to get me into this position and get me feeling good on the bike. Once I got out of the starts, I had plenty of speed.”
Fricke became the first competitor to win from outside the Polish top division in recent years.
He acknowledged: “I don’t know if it has been done, so it’s definitely something I can say I have done.
“The most important thing was that I felt really good tonight, regardless of what league I race in. I have been pretty busy and I have been riding a lot, so it was good to bounce back after that first round in Croatia and have a good result.”
Madsen is now on 30 points, two behind current leader Bartosz Zmarzlik, who left at the semi-final stage.
He said: “It’s nice to finally start to feel a little bit better. It hard been hard for the last month with flu and stuff like that, but I am slowly getting my fitness back.
“Tonight it was crazy and it is always crazy in these indoor meetings. The races go just like that – in such a short amount of time.
“You don’t always have time in the pits to affect your races, so it is really stressful and so crazy. I am happy to come second tonight and be up there at the top in the classification – second place and only two points short of the leader. It’s good to be back and I am happy about that.”
'Had to do it the hard way' - Fricke wins thrilling SGP in Warsaw
Lindgren was pleased with his own return to form, explaining: “I really needed a decent result in Warsaw to bounce back and climb the ladder in the championship table. I am really happy with third tonight. It was a really tough night for me.
“I had some really bad luck – I snapped a chain and crashed in one heat. I was fighting in every heat for every point and I got a bit lucky in the semi-final, to be honest. I was in the final to get on the podium, and that’s the way it is sometimes."
The next event is the Prague FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic – Prague on Saturday, May 28.
SPEEDWAY GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
1 - Bartosz Zmarzlik 32
2 - Leon Madsen 30
3 Mikkel Michelsen 30
4 Maciej Janowski 29
5 Fredrik Lindgren 24
6 Max Fricke 22
7 Robert Lambert 18
8 Anders Thomsen 15
9 Jason Doyle 15
10 Tai Woffinden 14
11 Matej Zagar 11
12 Pawel Przedpelski 10
13 Jack Holder 10
14 Patryk Dudek 10
15 Martin Vaculik 9
16 Dan Bewley 9
17 Maksym Drabik 4.
WARSAW CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS:
1 Max Fricke 20
2 Leon Madsen 18
3 Fredrik Lindgren 16
4 Mikkel Michelsen 14
5 Bartosz Zmarzlik 12
6 Maciej Janowski 11
7 Tai Woffinden 10
8 Pawel Przedpelski 9
9 Robert Lambert 8
10 Jack Holder 7
11 Jason Doyle 6
12 Patryk Dudek 5
13 Maksym Drabik 4
14 Dan Bewley 3
15 Martin Vaculik 2
16 Anders Thomsen 1
17 Jakub Miskowiak 0
18 Vitalii Lysak DNR.
The 2022 Speedway Grand Prix will be available live and ad-free on discovery+. with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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