Four-time World Longtrack champ Joonas Kylmakorpi hopes to help good friend Freddie Lindgren find the approach needed to win the SGP title.
Four-time World Longtrack champion Joonas Kylmakorpi hopes to help good friend Freddie Lindgren find the approach needed to win the FIM Speedway Grand Prix title race.The Swedish duo have joined forces for this season after Kylmakorpi was forced into retirement over the winter by a flat-track crash in Spain that left him with hip and pelvic injuries. And their partnership has already seen Lindgren end his five-year wait for a win at the LOTTO Warsaw SGP on May 13.
Kylmakorpi may have made just four SGP appearances, but he knows a thing or two about winning, having lifted the World Longtrack title four years in a row between 2010 and 2013.
It’s a mentally tough game. We know the technical stuff is spot on. It’s now about keeping the head in perfect shape for the season, so Freddie is able to perform.
“I have won world championships and I have the knowledge of how to do it,” Kylmakorpi said. “You need to do different things to be able to win and to get in finals in every meeting. You need to think about how you approach the racing. I’ve been able to make some small tweaks to how Freddie does that.
“In a Grand Prix, you have seven heats to get through. You have to regroup seven times and be able to pull everything out of the bag seven times a night.
“You have to compare it to the 100m sprint, where the start is also very important. An athlete might do 10 races a year and that’s not many more than Freddie or any other rider does in a night. It’s a mentally tough game. We know the technical stuff is spot on. It’s now about keeping the head in perfect shape for the season, so Freddie is able to perform.
“It’s a long season and there will be ups and downs as well. It’s something we are working on and we know it’s going to be really important to find solutions all the way.”
Kylmakorpi may be joining Lindgren at the events this year, but he admits he won’t be seen at trackside very often during the action as he seeks a different perspective on the races.
“It’s usually better to watch the racing on TV,” he said. “Even if I was in Warsaw, it was only the final heat I watched next to the track. From where you’re standing, you can’t see the corner or the lines. It’s better to stay in the pit box and watch all the heats on the TV screen
“It’s very difficult to hear the bikes, but it’s better to concentrate on the small details you only see on the TV screen – from the replays and slow-motion shots. You see things in a different way.”
Kylmakorpi hopes getting the small details right will make a big difference as Lindgren bids to stay on top of the world. And he believes the Wolverhampton star has never been better prepared to take on the SGP elite.
“Freddie has been close, but never close enough,” Kylmakorpi conceded. “Now we have a full package. The team behind him is doing a fantastic job.
“When it comes to Grand Prix racing, we’re not talking about finding something that is a massive improvement so you’re just dominating. It’s many, many small things that have to work. If you find one small thing, you have an advantage. We’ve managed to find a couple more of these and everything else is going well at the moment.
“It has been fantastic to be a part of Freddie’s team, pass on the knowledge I have been able to gather over the years.”
Asked if he believes Lindgren could become Sweden’s first world champion since Tony Rickardsson triumphed in 2005, Kylmakorpi replied: “Sure, that’s the goal. That has been the goal since October last year, to win the World Championship this year. But we’re only two rounds into the series and speedway is a funny sport. A lot of psychology and mental strength goes into it and it’s extremely tough.”