Patryk Dudek announced himself on the Speedway Grand Prix scene in style back in 2017 when he took silver in the championship behind winner Jason Doyle.
In doing so, Dudek became the most successful debutant in the competition’s history.
After his injury-enforced absence in 2021, the Polish rider qualified for this edition of the SGP following a third-place finish at the 2021 FIM GP Challenge in Zarnovica, Slovakia.
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The 2022 FIM Speedway Grand Prix kicks off in Gorican, Croatia on April 30 with discovery+ providing live coverage of all 12 races. Dudek is hoping his return to action will see him at least emulate his feat of five years prior and spoke to Eurosport about the season ahead.

How does it feel to be back in Speedway GP?

It’s good to be back and race with the best riders. I’m waiting for the first round in Gorican, and I am excited.

In 2017, you had an amazing debut season, finishing second. Then bad luck with injuries and you dropped out of the series at the end of 2020. With the right run of form and fitness, is it fair to say there is more to come from you?

This is speedway, so sometimes you do need to have a lucky time. I haven’t had the luck a few times in Speedway GP. A few times I have had big crashes and I have had problems racing all of the rounds.
My last time in the GP was hard because I tried different engines and I had problems with finding good speed on the track.
But last year and this year I have used Ryszard Kowalski engines and I hope it will be okay because I am feeling very fast on these bikes.

When it comes to Kowalski, everyone is saying those are the engines to be on?

Of course all riders must have a good feeling on the bikes. But the rider must also work with the team and think about getting the right sprocket on the bike. It’s not always the engines that win the race, but a rider’s head is very important on the track.
The start of the season has been okay for me this year.

What do you think you can do? Do you think we will see Patryk Dudek from 2017 or even better?

I hope I will go back to the podium after all the rounds in Speedway Grand Prix.
It’s hard to say what will happen in the next six or seven months, though. We do not know what will happen, so we will have to wait and we will see. Ask me this question after the last round.

Now you have switched to Torun in the Polish Ekstraliga. Did you consider staying with Zielona Gora in the First Division or did you only want to race in the Ekstraliga?

This is a big change for me in my speedway career. But I have said in the Polish media that it is interesting only for me to race with the best riders in the Ekstraliga. I need to have contact with the best riders all the time.
I had to change clubs. I do not know how long I will stay. My contract with Torun is for one year.

Patryk Dudek

Image credit: Eurosport

Your dad has a big connection with Zielona Gora and your mum has a big connection with Torun. So, you've been with your dad’s team and now you are trying your mum’s team?

It doesn’t matter now. Of course it is a funny situation but we have lived in Zielona Gora all the time.

What were the reasons you chose Torun?

I think the club is good in Torun. Of course before the transfer we talked with other clubs. But I thought the best place for me would be Torun and I signed the contract for one year.
It’s hard to say more because I have only spent a few weeks in Torun. Maybe I can tell you more later about what’s happening at the club and with the team. For now, everything looks brilliant.

You are without Emil Sayfutdinov this season due to his suspension*, but have a lot of good riders in the team who can cover Emil’s rides. Do you feel you can cover for him as a team?

We know the situation in the world, so we will use rider replacement for Emil and the four seniors and two juniors must get 46 points to win the meetings. The mathematics are easy!

Is this a year when Poland’s top riders can come together and win the gold medal at the Speedway of Nations in Esbjerg after three years of winning silver?

This is speedway and that’s the best answer to this! We all know the rules in the Speedway of Nations – we know it’s all about the Grand Final and this year it will be the same. We must race the last heat and take at least a 5-4.
I raced for Esbjerg three or four years ago. I don’t remember my results there, but the track is okay. We will see who races in the Speedway of Nations.

You are in another good team in Sweden with Bartek Zmarzlik at Lejonen. The club has built a very good team. Can you win the Swedish league?

When I race, I always fight for the best results for the club and it’s the same in Poland too. I hope we win the Swedish league because I do not have a gold medal from Sweden – I only have a few silvers from when I raced for Dackarna. I am waiting for the gold and I hope we take it this year.

It's an ambitious team – they have put together so many top riders, including Dominic Kubera as well?

Of course we look good on paper now, but you know how speedway is. Sometimes you don’t have good speed on the bike and riders aren’t always on top form all the time. Sometimes you crash and you have a break from racing. Let’s wait for the start of the season. We don’t know what will happen!
*Emil Sayfutdinov will be absent from this year’s championship due to the FIM decision to ban Russian athletes in the wake of the ongoing invasion in Ukraine.
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The 2022 Speedway Grand Prix will be available live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.
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