MADSEN TOPS TORUN QUALIFYING CHARTS
Leon Madsen has FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Championship silver in his sights, but won’t give up on gold ahead of title showdown in Torun.
04 / 10 / 2019, 21:46
Danish star Leon Madsen says he’s racing for silver, but admitted “anything can happen” after topping the qualifying charts ahead of the world title-deciding Revline Torun FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland.
The Czestochowa rider clocked a 14.413-second lap at the Marian Rose Motoarena on Friday evening to earn first pick of starting positions for the biggest meeting of his career so far.
Madsen goes into Saturday's Revline Torun SGP nine points behind World Championship leader Bartosz Zmarzlik, who registered the second fastest time on 14.532 seconds.
If Bartek has a tough night, anything can happen. But first of all, I need to put in a good performance and we’ll see what happens.
With Zmarzlik leading the way on 118 points, Russian star Emil Sayfutdinov second on 111 and Madsen third on 109, the Warsaw and British SGP winner knows catching the Pole will be a tall order on Saturday.
But Madsen’s efforts in qualifying have earned him starts in red when he faces both Zmarzlik and Sayfutdinov in the heats – potentially giving him a shorter and quicker run to the all-important first corner.
The 31-year-old insists he goes into the night seeking to overhaul Sayfutdinov for silver. But he doesn’t rule out chasing down Zmarzlik if things go his way.
He said: “Obviously I would like to win the meeting and finish off the season well. My aim is the silver medal – that’s what I can do something about.
“If Bartek has a tough night, anything can happen. But first of all, I need to put in a good performance and we’ll see what happens.
“No matter how I finish up – in first, second or third place – it has been a great season, a great achievement and I am very proud of what I have done this year. I have had six podiums and I won in Cardiff and Warsaw.
“I am racing for a silver medal. It has been a very good season and I am very happy about it.”
Madsen was delighted to better Zmarzlik’s qualifying time towards the end of Friday’s session to boost his hopes of becoming the first rider to win the world title in their SGP debut season.
He said: “What a pole position! That was the perfect lap. I felt it when I came into the second corner. I knew I was doing something correct and it was a good lap. It could be very important for tomorrow.”
In a twist to the title race, Sayfutdinov withdrew from the Revline Torun SGP qualifying session as he felt the effects of a fever during practice.
This meant his starting positions were drawn by the FIM from the two remaining slots, with Robert Lambert also missing qualifying due to Friday’s FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship meeting in Pardubice.
But having had last choice of starting positions when he won the Adrian Flux British SGP in Cardiff on September 21, Madsen knows Sayfutdinov’s absence may not cost him.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” he said. “We saw what happened with me in Cardiff. This is sport and we don’t know how the gates are going to be tomorrow. It’s a good racing track and Emil is fast. But obviously it’s better to have the choice.”
Sayfutdinov is still set to race on Saturday and Madsen certainly won’t be underestimating his rival – whatever the state of his health. He said: “I just have to be better than Emil – regardless of how good he is tomorrow.”
REVLINE TORUN SGP OF POLAND QUALIFYING TIMES
1. Leon Madsen – 14.413
2. Bartosz Zmarzlik – 14.532
3. Matej Zagar – 14.673
4. Artem Laguta – 14.706
5. Antonio Lindback – 14.770
6. Janusz Kolodziej – 14.789
7. Patryk Dudek – 14.803
8. Tai Woffinden – 14.807
9. Adrian Miedzinski – 14.838
10. Martin Vaculik – 14.980
11. Maciej Janowski – 15.002
12. Jason Doyle – 15.046
13. Niels-Kristian Iversen – 15.062
14. Fredrik Lindgren – 15.100