SP2A Speedway News
Speedway GP - Round 3 - 15 June 2019 - Czech GRound 3 of the Speedway GP series sees the show move on to Prague and The Marketa Stadium.
This venue is one of the longest-standing in the calendar and winning the event has proved to be a good omen in the past with 9 of the last 15 winners here going on to claim the title at the end of the season.
The racing here has been the subject of some criticism in the past, with very little passing being seen, but former rider Tomas Topinka is now head of track operations and the racing has improved in recent years. Last year’s event did see some fairly processional stuff in the early heats but, as the night wore on and the dirt line moved, there were some very good heats in the latter stage of the contest.
The forecast is for the weather to be extremely warm and this could very likely lead to slick conditions early on, once more, but, hopefully, as last year, there will be plenty of passing in the later stages when we get to the ‘business end’ of the meeting.
The event will be missing the current World Champion, unfortunately, due to the neck, shoulder and lung injuries he suffered last Friday whilst riding in Poland. Tai has indicated that he will miss at least one month and that means the next 2 GP’s minimum which is a blow to his title hopes and a real disappointment to the fans who love to see him ride. We wish him a speedy recovery.
In his absence, the obvious favourite is Bartosz Zmarzlik. He is now, also, the clear favourite to take the title at the end of the season and, of course, was one of our 3 pre-season picks when available at a much bigger price than he is now. His win in Slovenia took to him to joint top in the current standings, albeit after only 2 rounds, and he will be looking to go clear here. This track, however, has not been the happiest hunting ground for him in recent years and he has won just one heat here, in total, in the last two GP’s. He did, however, make the semi-final in 2016 and he is riding at the top of his game right now. He is best -priced 4/1 currently to win here.
Leon Madsen heads the pack of contenders, in terms of the betting, and is currently priced at second favourite at 6/1. The Dane has kicked off his campaign very well with a GP win in Warsaw and a podium place in Slovenia. The 30 year old has certainly looked competitive and his place in the GP series, so far, looks well warranted. He was second fastest in qualifying for this on Friday evening so is clearly intent on keeping up the momentum. A podium place in Prague wouldn’t surprise again but he is no longer the surprise package and pressure is a different animal when there is expectation.
The other rider who is currently joint top of the world championship standings is another of our pre-season picks and that is PATRYK DUDEK. The young Pole has bounced back excellently from injury this season and made both GP finals so far. In Warsaw he was the best rider on the night, despite a hip injury, but just missed out in the final itself, finishing 3rd, whereas last time, in Krsko, he was a little bit more inconsistent but still comfortably made the final before, perhaps, counting himself a little unlucky to finish just 4th in a race where Madsen should probably have been excluded. Prague is a track that should bring back some decent memories for Dudek as he has made the final on both occasions he has raced in GP’s here. Last year he finished as runner-up whilst, in 2017, he finished 4th in what was his first full season in the series. He is clearly well suited by the track, is in good form, and will be keen to keep up the pressure on Zmarzlik in the race to become World Champion. He has, possibly, his two toughest rides in his first two outings but he does look to have a decent gate draw in both of those races so, if he can get a decent return from those two races (heats 4 and 6) that will really set him up for a good evening.
On the subject of Prague form, we should look no further than FREDDIE LINDGREN. Last season’s winner will look to one of his favoured tracks to bounce back from a disappointing return in Slovenia. His ride in the final last year was a typically ‘hard’ one and showed all the determination and fearlessness that has become associated with him in the past few years. In addition to his GP win here last year, he has also made the semi-finals on 4 other occasions so it is a circuit that he goes well at. He has 20 championship points to his name, and will be desperate to start climbing up that leaderboard, and a podium finish certainly is within his capabilities. Expect him to be pushing hard from the start here.
Another man who will be anxious to start moving up the leaderboard is Maciej Janowski. The exciting Pole, of course, missed the opening GP through injury and was still, seemingly, feeling that injury when only getting 4 points in Slovenia. Another fortnight has passed and his fitness will be improving and he did show some encouraging signs in the qualifying session on Friday. This has not been a happy hunting ground for him, however, in the past and his fans may have to be just a little more patient before seeing him on the rostrum once more.
In contrast to Janowski, one rider who has made a good start to this year’s series is Martin Vaculik. He was a selection of ours last time out, in Slovenia, when he performed excellently to take 2nd place, leading for a while in the final before being passed by the unstoppable Zmarzlik. Last year saw his GP season get off to a delayed start and it took him a while to find his true form. This year, however, he has hit the ground running and finds himself in 4th place in the early standings. Prague is a track he knows well, as he rides in the Czech league for Slovakian outfit Zarnovica, and he should put in another solid display here.
At current odds of 16/1 EMIL SAYFUTDINOV, a winner of this GP back in 2009, is excellent each-way value. The Russian currently sits in 7th with 19 points, after a much improved showing in Krsko last time, where he made the semi-finals. What he cannot afford to do is have a bad start to the meeting, as was the case in Warsaw, where he ran two last places in his opening two rides and was playing ‘catch-up’ from thereon. His early rides here are from the two inside gates and he finishes the meeting with rides in the outside two gates. If last year is anything to go by, that may not be a bad scenario. He achieved a podium place here in 2018 and you know, given his immense talent, that, at some point, the Russian will click in a GP and there is no reason why the Czech GP can’t be the one where that happens?. He is, certainly, better than his current GP odds suggest but you never know just which version of Emil is going to turn up.
Suggested bets (all each-way):-
1. Patryk Dudek - 8/1 (Bet365)
2. Freddie Lindgren – 14/1 (bet365)
3. Emil Sayfutdinov – 16/1 (Skybet)
Each-way terms ¼ odds 1-2-3