Triple Aussie champion Max Fricke admits “we weren’t where we wanted to be” in 2022 as he bids to scale the Speedway GP ladder in 2023.

Fricke powered to an unforgettable victory at the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw last May. But this was his sole semi-final and final appearance of the season as the Victorian star ended the campaign 13th in the standings.

He also missed the final round of the series in Torun after suffering a broken sternum, bruised lungs, a sprained shoulder, a cracked shoulder blade and concussion in a season-ending crash in the Polish First Division play-off final decider in Zielona Gora on September 24.

Having taken eighth spot in 2021, finished that season as the sport’s top Aussie and also booked his place for this year by taking fourth spot at the 2022 FIM GP Challenge in Glasgow last August, Fricke has proved he can mix it with the best riders in the world.

But he knows there’s work to be done ahead of the new Speedway GP season.

This year’s Australian Championship bronze medallist said: “For sure there are things I can think of that need to be improved. I am working on that at the moment and trying to fix some little inconsistencies that are there.

“I am able to do it and I am able to do well. I know that and I have proved that on a couple of occasions. I just need to be there a little more consistently in each heat and that’s what it comes down to. I am doing my best and trying to work on that over this off-season. We are confident as a team that we will be able to move up the order. We weren’t where we wanted to be last year. But we are doing everything possible to make sure we can be a little higher up this year.”

Fricke was the only 2022 Speedway GP rider who did not compete in Poland’s PGE Ekstraliga, continuing his contract with Zielona Gora as they dropped into the First Division.

He’s back in the top flight with Grudziadz for this year. Asked if he feels missing out on racing in the world’s top speedway league cost him in 2022, Fricke replied: “Yes and no – I don’t think it helped when it came to the GPs and things like that. But there were times when I was still quick enough.

“I don’t want to say it hindered me at all, but it was one of the things I wanted to change for next year. I have changed teams and racing those top guys a little more will help.”