Courtesy of FIM Speedway Grand Prix
Russian ace Artem Laguta was elated to bring his Polish winning combination on to the world stage after claiming his first FIM Speedway Grand Prix victory in Wroclaw on Friday.
The Grudziadz rider has been in red-hot form since the PGE Ekstraliga season launched in Poland. And he was delighted to reproduce that scoring in the opening round of SGP 2020.
He topped the Betard FIM Speedway Grand Prix round one podium ahead of local hero Maciej Janowski, Swedish charger Fredrik Lindgren and Great Britain star Tai Woffinden.
Laguta was over the moon with the biggest win of his career so far. Speaking via manager Rafal Lewicki, he said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. I have been waiting for a long time. I can’t believe it.”
Laguta has regularly piled up the points in Poland, but hasn’t always transferred his high scoring on to the SGP stage.
Asked what made the difference in Wroclaw, he said: “There is no special secret. My form has been very good since the Polish league started. The bike is very, very fast.
“The guys in the workshop do fantastic work. My tuner, Ryszard Kowalski helps with fantastic engines. Everything has been set up for me.
“We also had the possibility to use Anlas tyres as well. We have been testing them in the last couple of matches and have gained a little bit more knowledge. They are slightly different.
“They don’t guarantee success, but they help to get success if you can set the bike up correctly. That’s what happened today. The bike was very fast from the start. I made very good starts. We are working hard in the team to make sure everything with the bikes is at the top.”
Laguta, who powered to 14 race points from a possible 15 in the heats, added: “It’s about the whole combination. The tyres helped and the engines from Kowalski Racing, which have been very good for a long time. The communication within the team and with the tuner is very important. That has all been a success. The tyre adds another couple of percent.
“Not everybody on the Anlas tyres won the races. But if you’re smart and you have a little more knowledge, you can get a benefit.”
Laguta admits working on his mental approach in the winter also boosted his bid to transfer Ekstraliga form into the SGP series.
He said: “We have been working very hard on that. I was quite close a few times to winning the Grand Prix, but we were always missing something.
“The work I did on my physical performance in the winter and also on the mental side of things meant I was really focused.
“I would like to say thanks to my family for their support and the whole team – everyone who has been working on the bikes. One of our mechanics wasn’t allowed to be in the pits, but he was part of the success as well. The engine tuners at Ryszard Kowalski Racing – the whole crew – have been great. We know the GPs have only just started. We have to stay focused and work hard to finish with a good result. Now we have won, and hopefully we can do it again.”
Laguta will get the chance to race for a second straight Wroclaw win when Betard FIM Speedway Grand Prix round two takes place at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday night (18:00 UK / 19:00 CET).
Before the action gets started, fans can also tune into speedway’s brand-new magazine show – Talking Dirt – Fuelled by Monster Energy. Watch live on Speedway GP Facebook and YouTube from 17:00 UK / 18:00 CET.
WROCLAW POINTS AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Artem Laguta 20, 2 Maciej Janowski 18, 3 Fredrik Lindgren 16, 4 Tai Woffinden 14, 5 Leon Madsen 12, 6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 11, 7 Emil Sayfutdinov 10, 8 Martin Vaculik 9, 9 Matej Zagar 8, 10 Gleb Chugunov 7, 11 Jason Doyle 6, 12 Patryk Dudek 5, 13 Mikkel Michelsen 4, 14 Niels-Kristian Iversen 3, 15 Max Fricke 2, 16 Antonio Lindback 1.