NICKI REPLIES TO SGP CRITICS
Nicki Pedersen called on his rivals to take responsibility for their own mistakes and said “I’ve never gone out to injure anyone."
19 / 06 / 2014, 16:03
Triple world champion Nicki Pedersen called on his rivals to take responsibility for their own mistakes and said “I’ve never gone out to injure anyone in 25 years of racing.”
The 37-year-old was incensed by criticism from world champs Greg Hancock, Chris Holder and Tai Woffinden that he lacked respect for his rivals and has been racing beyond the limit.
Pedersen is upset with the reaction to his collision with Matej Zagar at the Swedish SGP in Malilla on Saturday and says he was merely racing hard for the World Championship point on offer for third place.
The Odense-born star feels he has become an easy scapegoat for rivals when they make a riding error or leave a gap and then crash when he attempts to capitalise on it.
Speaking ahead of the Danish SGP in Copenhagen's PARKEN stadium on June 28, Pedersen feels the criticism for his tough riding style is just opponents shining the spotlight on him, rather than considering their own mistakes.
We all make mistakes, but I have never taken anyone off on purpose. Yes, I race hard and yes, I crash with people sometimes. That’s because I race for the championship.
He said: “We all make mistakes, but I have never taken anyone off on purpose. Yes, I race hard and yes, I crash with people sometimes. That’s because I race for the championship.
“You won’t find any time when I haven’t raced for a point. You won’t find any occasion when I’ve raced into somebody to take him off.
"The riders are saying I’m going out to hurt someone. I’ve never done this. I’ve never gone out to injure anyone in 25 years of racing.
“When someone spits at me, as Matej did on Saturday, that’s more disgusting than anything else. And I certainly never punched anybody.
“I know I can be a hard rider, but I know exactly what I am doing on the bike. There are lots of young guys who don’t know what they are doing on the bike. They don’t care; they don’t have the respect. It’s a different generation. I don’t have a problem with that, but stop being cry babies.
“They might be 10 times more talented as riders than I’ll ever be, but I know where I’m putting my bike.
“I don’t want to slag anyone off like my colleagues are. They don’t see their own mistakes. They blame somebody else. All of us have made mistakes and that’s why I don’t want to blame anybody in the press. The next day it could be me making a mistake.
“They don’t see their own mistakes. I know when I’ve done something wrong. If I don’t know, I have good people around me who will tell me straight away. I don’t think some of my colleagues ever think they’ve done something wrong. That’s the biggest concern. They always blame somebody else.
“People bring up my old reputation. I’m not doing any worse than riders like Darcy, Tai, Holder and all these youngsters.”
Pedersen is far from happy with Woffinden’s comments in the media and on Twitter following Saturday’s meeting and feels the Brit has no room to criticise his hard-charging style.
He said: “Tai broke my hand two times last year in Gothenburg and Cardiff and smashed Gollob down in Stockholm. No-one blamed Tai for any of this whatsoever.
“I’ve said nothing to Tai and I have not taken Tai off the bike. So they should stop saying all this. He says I’ve taken him off two times this year.
“I lifted in the corner at Wroclaw (in May) and went out half a metre. The track is quite wide and there is plenty of space. If Tai wanted to, he could have stayed on. But he was down on confidence at the time, so he jumped off the bike. When I lifted with my bike, is that something you do on purpose? No it isn’t. It’s rubbish.
“Yes, I make mistakes – I do all the time. But I don’t want people to think I do it on purpose. I’ve had enough of everything Tai is saying. I’ve blocked him on Twitter – I don’t need to see anything from him anymore. These guys are just trying to make themselves look good. They claim they’ve never done anything wrong.”
Pedersen says he had no intention of felling Zagar in Malilla, as he chased third place in semi-final two, which would have earned him an extra World Championship point.
I’m not going to change whatsoever on the track – it’s just going to make me even stronger. It’s going to make me even better.
He said: “I went for the gap and it went wrong – I didn’t race straight into him. I passed him halfway through the turn, we got tangled and it went wrong – it’s as simple as this.
“I went for the gap; Zagar was a little bit slow and kept opening the gap into the corner every single time. On the last turn, I went for the gap. I could either get one point or zero.
“I didn’t nail him. When you get tangled at that speed, these things happen. I didn’t want to take him off. But of course, I wanted a point.
“Some of the fans don’t understand the sport. If they think I race into someone just to race into somebody, and don’t realise I’m racing for the points at stake, then they are wrong.”
Hancock felt Pedersen rode him excessively hard in heat eight of the Czech SGP, but the Dane denies this and felt the American was tough on him in the final.
He said: “Greg shouted at me like a baby in Prague, but an hour or so later, he pushed me wide in the final. That was okay, though. Nobody said anything and he didn’t even say anything. I didn’t say anything either. It’s racing and I’m not a cry baby.
“I went past Hancock and needed to avoid Darcy’s back wheel. I had to go right instead of left because he locked the bike up. It left Hancock in no man’s land. He wanted to cut back and his foot slipped.
“He overcooked it and wanted to blame somebody else. It’s so easy to blame me, as I said to him. Even the mechanics were surprised. They didn’t know what he was on about.”
Pedersen says the knocks he has received will only make him stronger as he bids to silence his critics in style with his first ever Grand Prix win on home shale at the Danish SGP in Copenhagen.
He said: “I’m not going to change whatsoever on the track – it’s just going to make me even stronger. It’s going to make me even better.
“I’ve just had enough of the other guys trying to make me out to be a bad person. I’m not. They claim they’re better than I am. They’re not.
“If you look at Tai, Holder and Hancock, I’ve won more medals than they have ever won together. There must be a reason. They could do it if they focused on themselves and didn’t keep moaning about somebody or other.
“I must have been doing something right over the years. So I’ll give it my all once again in PARKEN and I’ll do my talking on the track.”