TIGHT AT THE TOP
Saturday 26th May 2012, 15:40
Danish champion Nicki Pedersen admits he can’t remember the World Championship race being this tight at the start of a season, as he prepares for the FIM Swedish Grand Prix in Gothenburg tonight.
The Odense-born star is fourth in the standings on 42 points – leaving him just two behind leader Jason Crump. The triple world champions are separated by two-time and defending gold medallist Greg Hancock and 2010 No.1 Tomasz Gollob, who have 43 points apiece.
Given that all four men have proved their ability to get a grip on a World Championship race and see their challenge through, it’s going to be fascinating to see who lifts the SGP series trophy after the final round at Torun in October.
With the veteran quartet all in championship-winning form, Pedersen knows he will have to be at his best to collect title No.4 this year.
"I donâ€™t think I can remember the last time it has been that close going into the fourth round. Itâ€™s good for the series."
- Nicki Pedersen
The Czech SGP winner said: “It’s incredible to see. There are nine championships between the guys in positions one to four. I don’t think I can remember the last time it has been that close going into the fourth round. It’s good for the series.
“I’m up where I want to be. I wanted to close the gap in Prague, which I did. Now I need to continue from there. My target is quite high this year. I’ve said I want to be in the top three and at the moment, we’re very close to it. There are still nine rounds to go and it’s still very, very open.”
Pedersen has been arguably the most consistent rider in world speedway this season, and has run roughshod through his competition in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic.
But producing maximums in league meetings is one thing, and Pedersen knows taking this form into the SGP series is still a challenge.
He said: “I need to be as consistent as I am in the leagues. It was only Leszno where I missed out on the final so far. I’m quite pleased, but I’m still very focused and I’m trying to be consistent.
“My last four starts in Prague were dominating and if I can get the starts going like I have done in the leagues, then I can only see it being good fun.”
While Crump has scored big in his heat races this year, he is yet to convert his early-meeting heroics into a Grand Prix victory.
Whatever happens in the first 20 races, Pedersen is determined to ensure he is at least in medal contention come the business end of proceedings.
He said: “I want to reach the final and when you do, anything can happen. Jason had the best pick in Prague, but he didn’t win it.
“I want to reach the final as many times as possible and when I get there, I know I can bring my gating gloves and win it.”
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