25/03/2012, 11:21

Swedish star Freddie Lindgren believes he would have reached last season’s SGP top eight but for his horror smash at Wolverhampton on August 1.

The Orebro-born man flies to Auckland along with the rest of his World Championship rivals today ahead of the FIM Buckley Systems New Zealand SGP on Saturday.

Lindgren will be desperate to get his 2012 campaign off to a flier as he bids for his maiden Grand Prix win. The 26-year-old, who joined the competition full-time in 2008, is also searching for his first top-eight finish at the fifth time of asking.

He finished 11 points behind eighth-placed Chris Holder last year and was handed a permanent wild card for this season.

But Lindgren feels he could have overhauled the Aussie, had he not suffered the crash at Monmore Green, which left him with a heavy concussion and back injuries.

"I wasn’t quite right for six weeks after that crash and you have to be right on top of your game at Grand Prix level."

- Freddie Lindgren

He told the Sunday Mercury: “I’ve missed out by one place twice in the last three years. I honestly believe if I hadn’t suffered the bad crash at Wolverhampton last year I would have finished in the top eight.

“I wasn’t quite right for six weeks after that crash and you have to be right on top of your game at Grand Prix level. There are no rides in the Grand Prix where you feel you can pick up some easier points. It just doesn’t happen and when you don’t feel fully fit then it’s twice as hard.

“My back was still giving me trouble right at the end of the season and I couldn’t get out of the start as I would have liked. It was tough for me.”

Lindgren is relishing the chance to tackle his SGP rivals on new territory as Auckland stages the first World Championship event outside of Europe since the Australian Grand Prix in October 2002.

The Dackarna and Wroclaw man added: “This is a fresh start and it’s exciting for the series to be going to New Zealand.

“The bikes went last week and we’re all looking forward to a new challenge on a track none of us have seen before.

“It’s good for the series to be moving outside of Europe for the first time and I’m really looking forward to it and of course I’m looking for a good start.”

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