NICKI: RIVALS LET IT SLIP
Wednesday 26th September 2012, 10:43
Nicki Pedersen sneered “I’m so glad I’m not Chris Holder or Greg Hancock” after watching both men surrender World Championship leads going into the title decider in Torun on October 6.
The triple world champion has 143 points and is just two behind Chris Holder, who has 145. Current champion Greg Hancock is third on 135 and will not be writing off his title chances just yet.
Pedersen scored a huge 20 points and finished second to Michael Jepsen Jensen in the FIM Dansk Metal Nordic SGP at Vojens on Saturday. He moved up from third to second and closed the gap between him and Holder by nine points.
Hancock held a 10-point lead over Pedersen at the top of the standings after the FIM Fogo Italian SGP on August 11, and the Dane says the Piraterna duo will be smarting after losing such big advantages.
"Iâ€™ve got everything to win. Iâ€™ve been third for so many meetings and I can go to Torun, do my absolute best and I have nothing to lose."
- Nicki Pedersen
The Odense-born man said: “I’m so glad I’m not Chris Holder or Greg Hancock. Chris is a young guy and he’s happy with things, but he’s only leading by two points. It must be tough.
“He was 11 points up on me and there is nothing worse when you’re leading and it slips away. It was a big gap, but it has gone and that will put some pressure on him. Greg was leading the way and all of a sudden, he has slipped away.
“It’s not over yet. That’s not what I’m saying. But there is nothing worse than it slipping away and going down to a last-heat decider.
“I’ve got everything to win. I’ve been third for so many meetings and I can go to Torun, do my absolute best and I have nothing to lose.”
Pedersen had a noticeable air of calm about him in the Vojens post-meeting press conference and says he didn’t feel the strain of chasing title No.4 in front of a bumper home crowd.
He added: “I was so laidback and focused on Saturday – there was no pressure. Of course there was some pressure, I wanted to win. But I didn’t feel nervous or anything like that. I just wanted to go out, race my bike and do my business. I did that.
“We had a plan. I needed to score at least 18 points if I wanted to get closer to Chris. I tried to stay focused on myself. I kept the speed in my bikes and my starts were back to business.”
If anyone could have beaten Pedersen in the Vojens final, wild card Jepsen Jensen who couldn’t threaten his title bid would have been top of the 35-year-old's wish list.
Despite coming within half a lap of his first ever SGP gold medal on Danish shale, Pedersen left the Nordic Grand Prix far from upset.
“As I’ve always said, I’d rather be world champion than win a Danish Grand Prix,” he said. “If I could choose, I know what I’d want.
“I don’t want to feel I let myself down because Michael passed me. He’s not a Grand Prix rider. Fair play to him; he was good on the white line.
“If any of the other riders had been in second place, they would never, ever have passed me. Michael is good around there.
“Of course I did my very best to stop him – that’s for sure. But I didn’t want to focus too much on him; I had to ride my own lines. My line just wasn’t fast enough compared to Michael’s.”
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