DOYLE: TOUGH AT THE TOP
Outgoing world champion Jason Doyle opened up on the battle to defend the sport’s biggest prize as he bids to end 2018 on a high in Torun.
04 / 10 / 2018, 10:30
Outgoing world champion Jason Doyle opened up on the battle to defend the sport’s biggest prize as he bids to end 2018 on a high at Saturday’s Torun SGP.
The Aussie stormed to gold in Melbourne last October, but is currently sixth in the World Championship. This is still some result for a man who has ended six of this year’s nine rounds outside the top-eight automatic qualification places, leaving him fighting for his SGP future.
A huge 33 points in just two rounds has transformed his season, and Doyle admits the ever-lessening burden of defending his title has helped him get back to his best.
It was a great feeling last year to lift it and now it’s time to re-gather my thoughts ready for 2019.
Only Tony Rickardsson and Nicki Pedersen have defended the world title in the SGP era, with TR doing it twice in 1998 and 1999 and 2001 and 2002, before the Dane won back-to-back crowns in 2007 and 2008.
Asked why it’s so tough to achieve, Doyle simply replied: “It’s a world title – if anyone could ride for a world title, there would be many riders here.
“It’s not all about who has the fastest engines. There are a lot of mental games and being positive about your racing.
“The last few weeks have been very good. I have a good team behind me and I’ve been working very hard in a tough situation.
“In Teterow, we went win, win and then I crashed. We re-gathered our thoughts, though. I started scoring points and settled down again. At the start of the year, I wasn’t re-gathering my thoughts. I was just getting more frustrated with myself and trying to catch up the points. It wasn’t working.”
Doyle has been delighted to have recaptured his best form, even though he faces the prospect of handing over the SGP trophy.
He said: “The last two GPs have been special for me to get so many points in the Grand Prix series.
“We’ve also been struggling all year – not only myself. I’ve been trying to defend the world title, but this year it’s not down to me. It’s down to Tai (Woffinden) and I hope he can finish it off in Torun.
“It was a great feeling last year to lift it and now it’s time to re-gather my thoughts ready for 2019.”
Doyle goes into the Torun SGP on the back of some mixed results in FIM Speedway Grand Prix competition on his PGE Ekstraliga home track.
He finished second in 2015, but crashed out in his opening ride in 2016 – an incident which denied him a world-title shot. He was close to sealing his championship in Torun last season, only to be denied by an incredible performance from nearest rival Patryk Dudek.
Reflecting on that night, Doyle feels it was hardly a disaster. But he admits getting it right at the Motoarena is no easy task.
He said: “I think getting 10 points there last year – looking back now – was a good result. It was very stressful at the time to lead the championship by 22 points and then go back to Melbourne only 14 ahead.
“But Torun is a track where it can go very good or very bad. There are so many fast riders. I know that when we go there on Saturday, it will be very close racing.”