Jason Doyle third and just 21 points off taking the title – Chris Holder sixth
Matej Zagar won his second straight FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Stockholm on Saturday, with the Ljubljana-born racer following up his German SGP victory in Teterow on September 9 with Stockholm SGP success at the Friends Arena, beating Bartosz Zmarzlik, Jason Doyle and Peter Kildemand in the final.
Doyle’s third place and huge 18-point haul puts him 21 away from securing his first world title, which could come at the NICE Torun SGP of Poland on October 7.
Zagar is also a man on a mission, having surged up to the all-important eighth place in the World Championship, which would guarantee him qualification for the 2018 SGP series.
Slovenia’s greatest speedway rider goes into the final two rounds in the form of his life and boosted by his first ever back-to-back SGP wins.
Had he started the season in his current form, Zagar could have been in championship contention. But the grounded Smederna and Czestochowa star knows consistency is crucial.
“It is what it is; the SGP series is 12 rounds. I can only say this is what I am capable of. I hope this is a big turnaround for the rest of my career and I don’t get many more of these bad meetings. If I can avoid them, I will fight for much better positions. But I’ll take it as it is. I’d rather finish well than start strong and finish badly, so it’s okay. I have been unlucky many times. I’ve had some crazy things go against me over the years, but it’s karma. What goes around comes around. You have to get lucky sometimes. Without luck, you’re nobody. I took my chance 100 percent. We made good changes with my team to make the bike hook up again and it was brilliant. I felt really fast in the semi and final. I knew if I made a good gate, I could win this. Once again, thanks to Johnsy, he made all the changes to my season and I can say I love his engines.”
Zagar only just made it into the semi-finals on countback with seven points and enjoyed a slice of fortune in his semi-final, with both Emil Sayfutdinov and Chris Holder suffering exclusions. Zagar puts his sensational second half of the season down to a change of engine tuner, having teamed up with Britain’s Peter Johns.
Zagar has watched the likes of Chris Holder, Greg Hancock and Tai Woffinden win world titles on Johns-tuned engines over the past five years. Asked if he could replicate their success in the coming years, Zagar said, “I would love to.”
Second-placed Zmarzlik was elated to get back on form in the SGP series after scoring just two points at the last round in Teterow.
“I’m very happy today because I am second. My last GP was not very good. I only scored two points. This was a little better. I say thank you to my sponsors and thank you very much to my team – they did a very good job.”
World Championship leader Doyle may not have topped the podium, but he was ecstatic with his 18-point tally.
Jason Doyle – Championship leader
“It’s not all about winning the final; I am very happy with the points I scored tonight. Who would have dreamt that I could get 18 points in a GP and extend my lead? To score that many points, I am over the moon. Hats off to the boys; they rode very well in the final. I am happy with my third place.”
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