Speedway Grand Prix 2022 - Bartosz Zmarzlik claims dominant victory in first GP of the season in Croatia
The two-time world champion kicked off his campaign at the 2022 Speedway Grand Prix in style as he dominated the first race of the season in Gorican, Croatia. The Polish was fastest in qualifying and finished first in three races on the night as well as the semi-final and final. Maciej Janowski came in second, Mikkel Michelsen third and Anders Thomsen in fourth.
'The longer it went, the better he got' - Bartosz Zmarzlik wins Croatian SGP final in style
Bartosz Zmarzlik has claimed the first FIM Speedway Grand Prix win of the 2022 season at the FIM Croatian Speedway GP, held in Gorican.
The 16 riders battled out for the race win, but there could only be one. Zmarzlik was already the favourite coming into the race weekend after his spectacular performance in last season, which saw the Polish rider come second overall and narrowly missing out on a third successive world title.
In the afternoon's qualifying session, Zmarzlik set a blistering lap of 14.339 which no other man could get close to.
Over the 20 heats of the main race, Maciej Janowski looked the man to beat on the night as he set himself top of the standings with 13 points. However, Zmarzlik wasn’t lurking too far behind, sitting in second place on 12.
Heading through to the semi-finals, Zmarzlik found himself battling for a place in the final with Mikkel Michelsen, wildcard Matej Zagar and Jason Doyle. He flew off to victory and was now looking the strongest.
The final heat consisted of Zmarzlik, Janowski, Michelsen and Anders Thomsen. The heat got off to a rough start when contact between Michelsen and Thomsen on the first corner sent Michelsen off his bike. Michelsen was able to continue, and all four riders took to the track for four final laps.
'There's contact!' - Drama as Mikkel Michelsen goes down in Speedway Grand Prix final in Gorican
Zmarzlik bolted out of his gate once the tape was down and never looked back, cruising to victory. Janowski had to settle for second with Michelsen and Thomsen coming in third and fourth respectively.
Elsewhere, Robert Lambert got off to a strong start, winning his first two heats. However, the next three heats did not go to plan and he just about scraped through to the semi-finals with seven points.
Tai Woffinden had a day to forget. The Brit could only get 14th in qualifying, and his heats didn’t go much better. He currently sits 13th in the standings and will be hoping that there are better days to come as he seeks a fourth world title.
Another shock omission from the semi-finals was Fredrik Lindgren. He just missed out by one point, coming ninth overall on the day.
Rookie Dan Bewley had a bright started to the day when he qualified second but wasn’t as fortunate in his heats, finishing 11th overall.
The FIM Speedway Grand Prix travels to Warsaw, Poland on May 14.
'What pressure?' - Bartosz Zmarzlik jokes about Speedway GP win in Gorican, Croatia
WORLD CHAMPINSHIP STANDINGS
1 - Bartosz Zmarzlik 20pts
2 – Maciej Janowski 18pts
3 – Mikkel Michelsen 16 pts
4 – Anders Thomsen 14pts
5 – Leon Madsen 12pts
6 – Matej Zagar 11pts
7 – Robert Lambert 10pts
8 – Jason Doyle 9pts
9 – Fredrik Lindgren 8pts
10 – Martin Vaculik 7pts
11 – Dan Bewley 6pts
12 – Patryk Dudek 5pts
13 – Tai Woffinden 4pts
14 – Jack Holder 3pts
15 - Max Fricke 2pts
16 – Pawel Przedpelski 1pt
- - -
The 2022 Speedway Grand Prix will be available live and ad-free on discovery+ with live race action also on Eurosport 2.