Triple FIM Speedway of Nations world champion Artem Laguta admits the Prague rain clouds had a golden lining as he stormed to victory in Anlas Czech Republic FIM Speedway Grand Prix round two on Sunday.
The sport’s biggest stars returned to Marketa Stadium for an early-afternoon start after Saturday’s event was postponed due to heavy downpours in the Czech capital.
A rare afternoon round proved lucky for Laguta as he collected the second SGP victory of his career – following up his triumph at the 2020 season opener in Wroclaw.
Laguta raced past fellow SON winner Emil Sayfutdinov to hit the front, with Friday’s round-one winner Maciej Janowski joining him for second and Sweden’s Fredrik Lindgren rounding Sayfutdinov for third on the final corner.
Heavy rain followed by bright sunshine meant track conditions changed drastically for speedway’s biggest stars. But Laguta made the most of them to move up to second place in the World Championship on 32 points – just six behind leader Janowski.
In a rare English interview, a delighted Laguta said: “I am very happy today. It was a good day for me. It was a good meeting and I made good starts today.
“I am very, very happy with the win. Now I am looking forward to the next meeting. But Speedway Grand Prix is always very hard.
“There was a lot of rain on Saturday, but it went today and the track was okay. It was very hard with grippy starts, but for me it was no problem.
“I want to say thank you to my team and thank you to my family – they are my life. I am very happy. Thank you.”
Janowski admits the bike which fired him to victory in Friday’s first round didn’t have the same impact today. But a change of equipment saw him bounce back with a very handy second place – meaning he has dropped just two championship points from a possible 40.
“They were two completely different days,” Janowski said. “After four heats I changed my bike. My first bike that I used on Friday lost some energy, so we changed and then everything was much, much better.
“It could have been better, but I am happy with what we got. Second place in the second GP sounds good and I scored good points – that’s the most important thing. We had a very hard day, but I am happy with how it finished.”
Lindgren has made a habit of scraping into semi-finals and taking full advantage of the opportunity. Today he turned eight race points in the heats into a very useful 16 championship points with third place.
The Swede is now fourth in the World Championship on 30 points and was pleased to make his mark when it mattered once again.
“Today was a big battle all the way through. I never really felt I had good speed,” Lindgren said. “I was making decent starts and had good track craft, but I was struggling a bit and really had to scrape through to the semis.
“In the semi we found a bit more speed in the bike and I was very happy I made it to the final. In the final I just gave it everything I had. It was a big battle and a big blast around the outside on the last corner to make it on to the podium. I am happy with that.”
Next up for the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars is Betard Wroclaw SGP of Poland rounds three and four at the legendary Olympic Stadium on July 30 and 31, as Janowski bids to extend his series lead in his home city, with Laguta and Tai Woffinden also lining up on their Polish home track.
ANLAS CZECH REPUBLIC SGP R2 SCORES:
1 Artem Laguta 20 points
2 Maciej Janowski 18 points
3 Fredrik Lindgren 16 points
4 Emil Sayfutdinov 14 points
5 Bartosz Zmarzlik 12 points
6 Jason Doyle 11 points
7 Martin Vaculik 10 points
8 Anders Thomsen 9 points
9 Tai Woffinden 8 points
10 Leon Madsen 7 points
11 Max Fricke 6 points
12 Matej Zagar 5 points
13 Krzysztof Kasprzak 4 points
14 Jan Kvech 3 points
15 Robert Lambert 2 points
16 Oliver Berntzon 1 points
17 Petr Chlupac 0 points
18 Daniel Klima DNR.
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:
1 Maciej Janowski 38 points
2 Artem Laguta 32 points
3 Emil Sayfutdinov 32 points
4 Fredrik Lindgren 30 points
5 Tai Woffinden 24 points
6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 23 points
7 Martin Vaculik 18 points
8 Leon Madsen 17 points
9 Jason Doyle 16 points
10 Max Fricke 15 points
11 Anders Thomsen 12 points
12 Matej Zagar 11 points
13 Robert Lambert 9 points
14 Jan Kvech 7 points
15 Krzysztof Kasprzak 5 points
16 Oliver Berntzon 3.