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Matej Zagar believes he has never had a better chance to be crowned FIM Speedway Grand Prix world champ and declared “let’s go all the way!"

03 / 03 / 2018, 12:58

Slovenian star Matej Zagar believes he has never had a better chance to be crowned FIM Speedway Grand Prix world champion and declared “let’s go all the way!”

The Ljubljana-born ace bounced back from a tough start to 2017 to pick up back-to-back wins in Teterow and Stockholm, before finishing seventh in the final standings.

There’s no doubt his mid-season switch to Peter Johns-tuned engines played a key role in the transformation. Having seen PJR motors win the world title every year from 2012 to 2016, Zagar can’t wait to race a full season on them.

Let’s go all the way! Why not? I don’t think I’ve ever been closer in my speedway career than I am now. I have to grab my chance.

Matej Zagar

After ending last year in the form of his life and with the power beneath him, Zagar is setting his sights high this year.

Asked his goal for 2018, he said: “Let’s go all the way! Why not? I don’t think I’ve ever been closer in my speedway career than I am now. I have to grab my chance.”

Zagar paid tribute to Johns for helping him transform his 2017 season and insists he was never going to give up the fight, despite standing 13th after four rounds.

“It’s never too late,” he said. “I am happy and delighted I am in strong form. Everything is alright and nothing has changed for this year. I still have the same team around me; my loyal sponsors as well. Peter Johns is still with me, so I hope everything will work well.

“Luckily he had time and the will to help things for me. I was very pleased about that and told him I respect this help a lot. That’s the way forward for me. He could also see things were working well. I had great speed and it’s a good base to work from, definitely.

“The way it was going last year, I didn’t want it to end! I am really looking forward to the new season.”

Zagar hit top speed after an inconsistent start to last year. And the rider was always certain it was the machine rather than the man holding him back.

“To be honest, I know my abilities,” he said. “On the bike, I feel relaxed and I’m always trying my best. Of course things sometimes do not go your way, but you have to know the reason why they’re not going well.

“After one meeting you can say, ‘I had a bad day.’ But otherwise, if it’s not working overall, you have to look in the mirror and say ‘is something wrong with me or is it other stuff?’ I knew for 100 percent that the problem was elsewhere. I’m pleased I found the problem and the results were just a confirmation to myself that I was right.”

Zagar might be confident in his equipment, but he insists he still works hard to keep his body in racing condition. However, he believes winning world titles takes more than putting in the hours at the gym.

He said: “Every year I train slightly more because I’m not getting younger. But I always say you have to ride the bike – it’s not about being the fittest and strongest man on the bike.

“On the bike, it’s very important to ride it well. It’s not about being the strongest or the sexiest guy. This is not a Miami Beach body competition; it’s a competition of who gets to the chequered flag first.

“You need a good bike and you need to ride it well. That’s the combination I hope I can achieve.”


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