SWINDON Robins skipper Jason Doyle began his bid for a second FIM Speedway World Championship title with a five-point haul in Saturday’s Grand Prix of Poland as Danish rider Leon Madsen took victory in the opening round of the series.

It was a below-par start for Doyle, who was crowned world champion in 2017, as the Australian placed 13th of the 16 riders in action in Warsaw.

Madsen took victory over Sweden’s Freddie Lindgren in the final, although Polish rider Patryk Dudek leads the standings after the championship opener despite finishing third in the final. Winner Madsen’s fellow Dane, Neils Kristian Iversen, finished fourth in the final.

Dudek’s point in the final took him to a tally of 16 for the round and he holds a narrow one-point lead ahead of Lindgren.

Riding for the first time since suffering nasty injuries in a heavy crash while on Polish club duty a fortnight ago, Swindon skipper Doyle was unable to produce his best in Warsaw.

He finished second in his opening heat and matched that position in his second outing, but only one more point was claimed over the Aussie’s final three rides as he finished fourth, third then fourth.

Grand Prix winner Madsen, meanwhile, has world championship glory in his sights – although he is not piling the pressure on himself to land the crown at his first attempt.

He said: “I don’t need to be number one this year. I am here to gain a lot of experience, especially on tracks like Warsaw.

“I am not here just to take part. I am here to fight for the championship. It was a good round and I clocked a lot of points. If I can be consistent all season, things could be quite good.

“But I’m not setting the bar higher. I’m just in this game to fight for the championship. I don’t put it as a goal that I must be number one or in the top three. You are obviously here to fight for the championship and I feel I have the quality to do that.

“If it’s going to be this year or next year, I don’t know. But I’m sure one day I am going to win the world championship.

“I have to say I am very pleased and happy to get away from Warsaw with 13 points. That was probably more than I could have hoped for – it’s not an easy place to start out your GP campaign.”

Championship leader Dudek’s night was far from easy, having to do it the hard way after an awkward crash in race 14.

He said: “I would like to say a big, big thank you to the fans. This night was tough for me and the season has been tough for me. Today was great. I want to say a big thanks to my team, my family and my sponsors. I hope to stay in the same position at the next round. But we will see.”

Next up is the Slovenian GP in Krsko on June 1.

BOLL WARSAW SGP RESULT: 1 Leon Madsen 13, 2 Fredrik Lindgren 15, 3 Patryk Dudek 16, 4 Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, 5 Bartosz Smektala 10, 6 Bartosz Zmarzlik 10, 7 Antonio Lindback 10, 8 Robert Lambert 8, 9 Martin Vaculik 7, 10 Matej Zagar 7, 11 Emil Sayfutdinov 6, 12 Tai Woffinden 6, 13 JASON DOYLE 5, 14 Janusz Kolodziej 4, 15 Artem Laguta 4, 16 Max Fricke 3, 17 Dominik Kubera DNR, 18 Rafal Karczmarz DNR.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Patryk Dudek 16, 2 Fredrik Lindgren 15, 3 Niels-Kristian Iversen 14, 4 Leon Madsen 13, 5 Bartosz Zmarzlik 10, 6 Antonio Lindback 10, 7 Bartosz Smektala 10, 8 Robert Lambert 8, 9 Matej Zagar 7, 10 Martin Vaculik 7, 11 Tai Woffinden 6, 12 Emil Sayfutdinov 6, 13 JASON DOYLE 5, 14 Artem Laguta 4, 15 Janusz Kolodziej 4, 16 Max Fricke 3.