DUDEK DOMINATES IN KRSKO
Patryk Dudek dominates in Slovenia to take his first Grand Prix of the season at a controversial Krsko.
In the first round of heats, the gate positions proved vital to early success. Freddie Lindgren and Niels K Iversen, injured Matej Zagar's replacement, both saw their inaugural wins of the night come from gate one, whereas Greg Hancock and Bartosz Zmarzlik saw their three points sprout from gate three. Championship leader, Tai Woffinden, only slavaged a third from his first heat but arguably made the best of a bad gate four.
As the meeting developed, gates one and three were still fairly dominant in comparison to the other two, but gate two did eventually start to produce race wins. Jason Doyle, Hancock, Martin Vaculik and Zmarzlik all appeared strong contenders as the race for the Semi's drew closer, but the meeting saw race wins come from more than half of the field to develop an unpredictable night of racing. However, two riders saw a race win slip away from them as they suffered with a bike failure. Both Maciej Janowski and Craig Cook were leading their races when their primary chains broke, robbing them both of a possible three points each.
One of the talking points of tonight's Grand Prix, other than the racing, was the decisions made by the referee. Doyle was given a warning for moving at the start, yet the race was not stopped, so technically he had not delayed the start and some may argue that he did not move before the tapes went up. Later on, Woffinden was excluded from one of the most crucial races of his night and potentially his championship, as he faced rivals, Zmarzlik, Janowski and Hancock in heat sixteen. The two minutes clock ticked away on the centre green as the riders prepared themselves at the tapes. With the SGP rule stating that all riders must be ready to race when that clock hits zero, you could agree that Woffinden should be disqualified, but in this case, then so should Janowski and Zmarzlik who were also not ready to race. The biggest problem here being the inconsistency.
The top eight for the meeting was confirmed and it was time for Semi-Final One. Lindgren, Doyle, Janowski and Holder all had a rostrum place in their sights and were certainly hungry for the victory, so a spot in the Final was mandatory. Doyle rocketed away from the tapes leaving the other three looking virtually stationary, but, Lindgren used his speed and grip to his advantage and swooped around the outside of the other three riders. Holder and Janowski saw their nights end there, as Lindgren and Doyle made it into the Final.
Semi-Final Two saw Hancock, Dudek, Zmarzlik and Vaculik line up at the tapes; all seeking a place in the Final. The heat favourite, Zmarzlik, missed the gate, allowing fellow Pole, Dudek, and America's Hancock to edge out in front. Zmarzlik threw everything at Hancock, trying every line possible on the Slovenian track to get himself into the Final to capitalise on Woffinden's woes, but it was one challenge too far. Dudek took the chequered flag ahead of Hancock, both securing a place in the prestigious final, Zmarzlik's and Vaculik's night was over.
As the Final dawned on the Slovenian Grand Prix, the all-important gate pick proved to be a crucial point in the meetings result; Patryk Dudek in red, Jason Doyle in blue, Freddie Lindgren in white and Greg Hancock in yellow. Dudek made a flyer from gate one and lead all four laps untroubled, much like Doyle in second, who also managed to sustain his position throughout the race. However, at the back, Hancock and Lindgren were the opposite, swapping and changing positions on every inch of the track for all four laps. Eventually, time ran out for Lindgren to make his way past the American, seeing him fail to make the rostrum with Hancock taking the final place.
Woffinden's title lead is now shortened from sixteen points to only nine, as Zmarzlik reels him in. Lindgren and Janowski currently both sit in joint third with eighty nine points as they set their sights on a medal spot. Further down the standings, Doyle re-emerges into the top eight, but is joint on points with Emil Sayfutdinov as they fight to secure a place for next season.