MICHELSEN: TOP SIX STILL THE AIM

Danish racer Mikkel Michelsen insists his goal remains an FIM Speedway Grand Prix top-six finish after reaching his first-ever Speedway GP final in Croatia on Saturday night. Michelsen roared to third place at the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec, joining winner Bartosz Zmarzlik and runner-up Maciej Janowski on the podium. The European champion has been tipped by some pundits as a dark horse in the 2022 Speedway GP rostrum race, and his sensational start to the season at Speedway Stadion Milenium justified those predictions. But Michelsen isn’t getting too carried away, despite building on a sensational start to the season with his Polish club Lublin and Danish side Slangerup. He said: “I know what I can do and I know what I am capable of doing. The realistic goal is obviously to finish in the top six and automatically qualify for next year’s series. “But that said, the mentality is I am coming here to win every single race and win the GP. That’s the mindset; we will see where it takes us at the end of the year. The main goal is the top six, though. “I am very satisfied and very happy with my third position in Croatia. When you are in the final, you would obviously like to be standing on the top step, but the points are the most important thing, especially in such a long series. I haven’t had good results in Croatia in the past, so I have to take the position.” Michelsen is in his second Speedway GP season after being called up as a late replacement for the injured Martin Smolinski in 2020. The Rybnik-based star finished 14th in the standings and struggled for form that year as all eight rounds were contested over just five weeks due to the pandemic. But his third place in Croatia means that he has already scored 16 points from one round – half the 32 points he achieved in the whole season two years ago. Michelsen appears to have progressed well since his Speedway GP exit and admits his previous opportunity came at the wrong time. He said: “Two years ago, I was in a tough period in the season and struggling a lot with equipment and myself. I was not racing very well. Getting the call-up to do a very compact, Covid-hit GP series was not ideal. Obviously I had to say yes and get the best out of it, but it wasn’t great. So I am very satisfied to return this season with a final and a third place.”

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EKSTRALIGA | MICHELSEN STARS AS LUBLIN STUN TORUN

Danish racer Mikkel Michelsen followed up his first FIM Speedway Grand Prix final appearance by racing to 14 points for Lublin as they stunned hosts Torun 48-42 on Sunday. The European champion is being tipped as a Speedway GP medal contender this year and underlined his credentials with a third place in the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec on Saturday. Despite falling in his opening race of the Polish PGE Ekstraliga contest, Michelsen bounced back with four wins and a second place in his remaining outings as Lublin roared to victory at the Marian Rose Motoarena. He was well supported by Polish racer Jaroslaw Hampel who tallied 12, while FIM Warsaw Speedway GP wild card Maksym Drabik raced to 10 points. Aussie star Jack Holder bagged 13 for Torun, with Robert Lambert registering 10 paid 13, Patryk Dudek notching nine paid 11 and Pawel Przedpelski racing to nine paid 10. In the day’s other meeting, Danish ace Leon Madsen racked up to 12 paid 14 points for Czestochowa as they defeated champions Wroclaw 52-38. Swedish star Freddie Lindgren also impressed for the Lions on 12, with Kacper Woryna tallying 10 points. Donji Kraljevec runner-up Maciej Janowski recorded 14 paid 16 points from seven races, with his Speedway GP rival Dan Bewley tallying 12 from seven. Tai Woffinden scored two paid three. For full details of the day’s results, scorers and the latest league table, visit: https://speedwayekstraliga.pl/ (in Polish).

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ZMARZLIK OPENS NEW ERA OF FIM SPEEDWAY WITH VICTORY IN FRONT OF SOLD-OUT INTERNATIONAL CROWD IN CROATIA

An exciting new era of FIM Speedway started with a familiar result as Poland’s double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik triumphed in the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec on Saturday. Zmarzlik zoomed to victory ahead of fellow Polish star Maciej Janowski, who was second, and Danish racer Mikkel Michelsen, who was third in his first-ever Speedway GP final. Danish champion Anders Thomsen took fourth place in only his second final appearance. The event marked the start of Discovery Sports Events’ 10-year tenure as FIM Speedway global promoter. A sell-out crowd packed Speedway Stadium Milenium for the biggest event in Croatian speedway history as fans were given their first real taste of Discovery’s vision. A glorious central stage and push-off area, enhanced by LED screens, featured at a Speedway GP event for the first time, with a TV studio in the heart of the stadium and pit boxes that lift the sport to a new level. Visitors were also greeted by an action-packed fanzone throughout the afternoon, including an autograph session featuring all of tonight’s riders. The FIM Croatian Speedway GP action was available to millions of viewers around the world from Manchester to Melbourne, with live coverage on Discovery+ and the Eurosport App, as well as on linear and free-to-air channels, including SPTV in Croatia. With a guest appearance from six-time world champion Tony Rickardsson in the studio, seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls reporting from the pits and data including live heartbeat and reaction times, the stars of the sport and new technology combined to give fans a unique viewing experience. The first Speedway GP in Croatia since 2012 saw fans treated to some fantastic action as Zmarzlik topped the podium. The Gorzow and Lejonen star was delighted to win the opening round of a series for the first time in his Speedway GP career, securing the maximum 20 championship points as he mastered a tight and technical Speedway Stadium Milenium track. Zmarzlik, who made a rapid dash from Polish city Grudziadz after racing for his PGE Ekstraliga club Gorzow on Friday night, said: “I am very happy because I have never won the first round. “I am feeling nice, but a little bit tired because on Friday I had a meeting and I was feeling a little bit up and down. “After the first few races, I didn’t have a very good feeling on the bike on this track. But after four races, I felt much better with setups and I felt much better on the bike. I am very happy I won. “After my last meeting on Friday, I came here and did a few practice laps. For me, it is a very small track and I didn’t have a very good feeling in the corners – it’s too small for me. But after more racing, I liked the track more.” Zmarzlik has been marked by many pundits as a favourite in this season’s Speedway GP title race, and the excitement will only build ahead of his country’s biggest speedway event, the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw at the iconic PGE Narodowy on May 14. But having become Poland’s first two-time world champion Zmarzlik has become accustomed to managing such high expectations and ignoring the hype. He said: “I really don’t look at this because I love my job, my speedway. In my life, there is only family and speedway and that’s it. Of course, winning is important. But it’s not good for my head just to focus on that.” Runner-up Maciej Janowski finished ninth in qualifying practice, but topped the heat scorechart on 13 race points, before ending the night with 18 championship points for second place. He said: “I feel very good. We started well. From the beginning, we found a good setup. Maybe we didn’t see that in qualification, but when we came to the tapes, everything was working pretty well. I am very happy with my points. It was a solid night.” European champion Michelsen was delighted to start his series by reaching his first Speedway GP final. He said: “Obviously I am very satisfied with that. I am very happy with my third position. When you are in the final, you would like to be standing on the top step. But the points are the most important in such a long series. “I am very happy with third position. It’s a track where I haven’t had good results in the past. So I have to take the positives.” Following a successful opening round, François Ribeiro, Head of Discovery Sports Events, was delighted to see the group’s vision for FIM Speedway come to life in Croatia. He said: “We are very happy to see our FIM Speedway vision become a reality for the first time this evening. We have been working on the project for some months now in collaboration with our partners at the FIM, and what you saw tonight is the result of a huge amount of hard work by so many people. “It was fantastic to see Speedway Stadion Milenium completely full and so many fans enjoying a great night of racing, with the spectator experience elevated by everything from the central stage to the fanzone that greeted them at the stadium gates. “Our work is only just starting and everyone at Discovery looks forward to what the future holds for FIM Speedway.” Next up is one of the jewels in the FIM Speedway crown – the FIM Speedway GP of Poland – Warsaw, which takes place in front of over 50,000 fans at PGE Narodowy on May 14. FIM SPEEDWAY GP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Bartosz Zmarzlik 20, 2 Maciej Janowski 18, 3 Mikkel Michelsen 16, 4 Anders Thomsen 14, 5 Leon Madsen 12, 6 Matej Zagar 11, 7 Robert Lambert 10, 8 Jason Doyle 9, 9 Fredrik Lindgren 8, 10 Martin Vaculik 7, 11 Dan Bewley 6, 12 Patryk Dudek 5, 13 Tai Woffinden 4, 14 Jack Holder 3, 15 Max Fricke 2, 16 Pawel Przedpelski 1, 17 Nick Skorja 0, 18 Dennis Fazekas 0.

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NEW ERA OF FIM SPEEDWAY LAUNCHES TONIGHT

A new era of speedway launches tonight as Discovery Sports Events kicks off its 10-year tenure as global FIM Speedway Grand Prix promoter with the FIM Speedway GP of Croatia – Donji Kraljevec. Sixteen of the world’s top riders, including three former world champions with six Speedway GP world titles between them, take to the track at Speedway Stadium Milenium, with Discovery bringing the racing to more viewers than ever before – however they choose to watch. The track action gets underway with Qualifying Practice at 13:00 CET, with the first Speedway GP of 2022 getting started at 19:00. The event marks the start of an exciting partnership between Discovery Sports Events and the FIM, motorcycling’s global governing body, which will see the fan experience at FIM Speedway events revamped and the sport’s entire development structure taken under one umbrella. The FIM Speedway Under-21 and Under-16 World Championships become SGP2 and SGP3 and will be staged as part of Speedway GP weekends, with SGP2 rounds taking place in Prague (May 27), Cardiff (August 14) and Torun (September 30) and SGP3 being staged over a single night in Wroclaw on August 26.   THE LINE-UP Discovery’s FIM Speedway journey begins at Donji Kraljevec’s Speedway Stadion Milenium tonight with 16 of the sport’s top riders battling it out on one of the sport’s fairest race tracks. Poland’s double world champion Bartosz Zmarzlik and Maciej Janowski both head to Croatia seeking flying starts to 2022, while Swedish star Fredrik Lindgren is hoping to repeat the heroics that saw him reach two FIM Croatian Speedway GP finals in 2010 and 2011. Triple world champion Tai Woffinden is joined in the series by his fellow FIM Speedway of Nations world champions Robert Lambert and Dan Bewley as the Brits track three full-time Speedway GP riders for the first time since 2004. Former world No.2 Leon Madsen of Denmark is also bidding to top the podium along with 2017 world champion Jason Doyle and his fellow Aussie ace Max Fricke. Last year’s European champion Mikkel Michelsen of Denmark returns to the series after a year away, with Danish champion Anders Thomsen back for a second season. Slovak star Martin Vaculik returns for 2022, while Poland’s FIM GP Challenge winner Pawel Przedpelski and Australia’s Jack Holder join Bewley in making their full-time Speedway GP debuts this season. Tonight’s event also features Slovenian star Matej Zagar, who raced in Speedway GP in 2006-2007 and 2013-2021 and has won two FIM GP Challenges at a venue where he always brings a large contingent of Slovenian fans from across the border. With an exciting blend of Speedway GP experience and newcomers, a new era of Speedway GP truly is beginning. 2022 FIM SPEEDWAY GP OF CROATIA – DONJI KRALJEVEC LINE-UP (in ranking order with rider numbers: 95. Bartosz Zmarzlik (Poland), 71. Maciej Janowski (Poland), 66. Fredrik Lindgren (Sweden), 108. Tai Woffinden (Great Britain), 30. Leon Madsen (Denmark), 46. Max Fricke (Australia), 69. Jason Doyle (Australia), 505. Robert Lambert (Great Britain), 105. Anders Thomsen (Denmark), 54. Martin Vaculik (Slovakia), 323. Pawel Przedpelski (Poland), 155. Mikkel Michelsen (Denmark), 692. Patryk Dudek (Poland), 25. Jack Holder (Australia), 99. Dan Bewley (Great Britain), 16 Matej Zagar (Slovenia – wild card), 17 Nick Skorja (Slovenia – first track reserve), 18 Dennis Fazekas (Hungary – second track reserve).   WHERE TO WATCH - FIM CROATIAN SPEEDWAY GP Qualifying Practice: 13:00 CET FIM Croatian Speedway GP: 19:00 CET Fans with access to Discovery+ or the Eurosport App in selected countries can enjoy full live coverage of all the FIM Speedway action this year, featuring qualifying practice coverage, a documentary series and other innovative features, including live data such as rider heartbeat, reaction time and trajectory analysis to illustrate the demands placed on the riders on the track. Linear coverage is also available in selected countries – see below for more details of where to watch. Every round of Speedway GP in 2022 will be available live and in full on Discovery+ and the Eurosport App in countries where these services are available. BRITAIN: Live on Discovery+ and Eurosport 2 POLAND: Live on Eurosport in Player. SWEDEN: Live on Discovery+ DENMARK: Live on Discovery+ and 6’Eren AUSTRALIA: Live on Fox Sports USA: Live on beIN SPORTS GERMANY: Live on the Eurosport App CZECH REP: Live on the Eurosport App CROATIA: Live on SPTV and the Eurosport App NORWAY: Live on Discovery+ FINLAND: Live on Discovery+ ACROSS THE BALTICS: Live on Discovery+ and Go3 SELECTED ASIAN MARKETS: Live on beIN SPORTS

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MONSTER ENERGY CONFIRMED AS FIM SPEEDWAY OFFICIAL ENERGY DRINK PARTNER

Long-time speedway sponsor Monster Energy is set to continue its long-standing relationship with the sport after becoming the official energy drink partner of the FIM Speedway World Championships for 2022. Monster Energy has been an integral part of the FIM Speedway family since 2012, sponsoring both the championships and a host of the sport’s top athletes. Monster Energy and Discovery Sports Events share the same objective to take the FIM Speedway fan experience to the next level and put entertainment at the heart of the show. With their popular Rig Riots, fan giveaways, athlete appearances and much more, Monster Energy entertainment has become an integral of FIM Speedway’s DNA. Current FIM Speedway Grand Prix riders Tai Woffinden and Fredrik Lindgren are both Monster Energy athletes, along with Polish duo Pawel Przedpelski and Patryk Dudek, and Jack Holder and Dan Bewley, who join the Speedway GP line-up for this season. Monster Energy’s approach has seen the brand support both speedway athletes at the highest level, and young riders seeking to reach FIM Speedway standard – an endeavour strongly shared by Discovery Sports Events as it launches the SGP2 and SGP3 championships for the sport’s under-21 and under-16 stars. François Ribeiro, head of Discovery Sports Events, is delighted to extend Monster Energy’s decade-long involvement in the sport. He said: “It’s clear that Monster Energy has a huge passion for FIM Speedway, so it completely makes sense to join forces with them as we take the championships into an exciting new era. “Monster Energy has always worked tirelessly to entertain and interact with Speedway fanbase, and this truly is a relationship which will benefit the entire community. “Together with Monster Energy, we have agreed that they will collaborate with us as our official energy drink partner for 2022, no longer as series presenting partner.” “The Discovery Sports Events team looks forward to working with Monster Energy throughout 2022, and I am sure we are in for a fantastic season.” Joe Parsons, Director of Special Marketing Projects for Monster Energy Drink Europe, Middle East and Africa, is also pleased to join forces with FIM Speedway once again. He said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Discovery Sports Events for the 2022 FIM Speedway Grand Prix season, extending our involvement with the series to 11 years. “We are hugely passionate about supporting speedway and this year we are extremely excited to be the official energy drink partner of the series, as well as sponsoring six full-time SGP riders and supporting them in their quest for success. “We have always tried to bring the sport closer to the fans, to give them an added dimension of entertainment off-track, and this year will be no different. Fans can expect to enjoy all of the things they’ve become used to from Monster Energy and more, so roll on a brilliant year of speedway in 2022.” For more information about Monster Energy, please visit: https://www.monsterenergy.com/

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