Robert Lambert placed a respectable seventh at the opening race of the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix in Gorican, Croatia.
The Brit started the day brightly with some early wins in the heats to book himself a semi-final place where his night ultimately ended.
Despite only just missing out on a place in the final four, the 24-year-old is already committed to improving his position and plans to start this weekend when the SGP heads to Warsaw.
'Slowly getting my fitness back' - Madsen winning fitness fight to close in on SGP top spot
The 2020 European Champion sat down with Eurosport to look ahead to the race and discuss his plans for the season.
How happy are you with your performance in Croatia?
“As a whole, I'm happy. But you know, a little bit disappointed with the way it ended. Obviously had a good start, was on fire, and then that diminished towards the end and didn't do so well.
“Throughout the meeting, it’s a high-pressure situation, so you don't want to go too far off of something if it's working. And that's what we have done and obviously, it didn't work.
“I came to a conclusion that sometimes you need to be a bit more bold with decisions you make with bike setup and stuff like that. And then maybe the end result will be a bit better.
“I've been in like, eight semi-finals now and haven't made the finals. So that's a disappointment but at the same time, gives some fresh motivation moving forward into the next rounds."
- Michelsen says he ‘wants to be world champion’ ahead of Speedway GP of Poland
- 'I didn’t have a very good feeling' - Zmarzlik admits pre-race fears despite Croatia SGP win
- 'It's been a nightmare' - Woffinden bemoans 'garbage' Croatian Speedway GP performance
What are your aims for the season as a whole?
“The aim is to stay and get into the top six and secure my spot for the next season as well. Obviously, I want to be on this on this journey with discovery and with the SGP series and want to be at the top level as well. And obviously, the big goal is being the world champion.
“So definitely, there’s the short term goal for this season. The plan is to try to gain as many semi-finals as you can, and then get into the finals, to get those big points on the leaderboard.”
Moving on to Poland, what is your experience of the venue in Warsaw?
“I've been once in 2019 when I was taking the place of Greg [Hancock] as a reserve, and it was pretty, pretty overwhelming at the time.
“Magnificent to be in such a stadium with the Polish fans. They set the volume a little bit louder than the normal fans. Very passionate.
“To be there the second time around will probably be a little bit less nerve-wracking, but at the same time, there'll be the butterflies just before we go out onto the track because not many people get this kind of experience to be in such a stadium and in front of so many fans.
“So yeah, it's going to be an experience, but one that I’ll enjoy and soak up the atmosphere.”
What have you learned coming into this season?
“I learned a lot about myself, about the mental pressures and how to handle it, and how to how to portray myself as well, and put myself out there.
“Also the machinery, and how that needs to be top-notch. In a World Championship Series, everything needs to be the best.
“And even if it is the best, you need to try and look for something even better. We learned a lot about my engines as well and what we need to improve on. We've done that throughout the winter and we're still making steps forward and progress with that.
“It's definitely important the people you have around you, influencing you because all the little things matter when It’s at such a high level and you need to have all the jigsaw pieces in the right place.
“Now it’s down to me and the team to make everything work.”
'So much could have gone horribly wrong' - Lambert avoids Lindgren crash to take Gorican SGP Heat 6
How is it having to go head-to-head with people you usually consider team-mates?
“It’s something I’ve been used to growing up. One day you can be racing in a team with them, the next day you're racing against them. So, yes, quite familiar, but at the same time, sometimes tricky.
“With the Torun team, we've got three other guys who are in the Grand Prix series and then myself. We were racing in Croatia on the Saturday and then racing in the team on the Sunday, so there can be some rivalry there, but we're all professional about it.
“When we come with our team suits on, we look for each other, play as a team because the team obviously comes first.
“But when you're on your own, the blinkers are on and then you're only going for what you want and not worrying about the other three people around you.”
- Zmarzlik bolts to victory in first Speedway Grand Prix of the season in Croatia
- Speedway Grand Prix 2022 - what it is, how to watch, race calendar, who is taking part
With a European title and a world title in the Speedway of Nations under your belt, is the SGP next on your list?
“Yeah, definitely. That's the long term goal. We need to set smaller goals in between.
“Like with the European Championship, I set a small goal and then became European champion.
“That's the way I work, I don't like to bite off more than I can chew sort of thing and be humble about it.
“We're working hard and obviously the end, or the big goal of my career is to be able to lift that trophy.”
- - -
The 2022 Speedway Grand Prix will be available live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
Przedpelski savours 'really good feeling' after semi-final display at Poland GP
Zmarzlik rues ‘junior’ error as championship lead is cut in Warsaw
Share this article