Emil Sayfutdinov insists no practice makes perfect when it comes to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, after storming to second in Horsens.
The Salavat-born man is yet to attend a single SGP practice session this year. And his decision to travel to Denmark on the Saturday nearly cost him, when he and his team were stranded for hours on a German motorway, which was closed due to a police incident.
Fortunately, Sayfutdinov and his crew made it to Horsens in good time for the action and he delivered his first SGP podium since 2013.
Despite enduring such a stressful trip, the Russian captain, who leads his country into Monster Energy SWC Event 2 at Vastervik on July 4, was determined to keep his focus on the job.
He said: “They just closed the motorway and we were waiting for two and a half hours. That was tough. We couldn’t turn around and go back. We needed to wait. For sure it was stressful, but we were still concentrated for the meeting and did the best we could, so I’m happy.”
Sayfutdinov’s troubles led some to question whether he should travel to SGP events and attend Friday practice. While he doesn’t rule out practising at future events, the 27-year-old insists taking the track as he finds it on race day is the best approach.
He said: “Other riders say the track was different on Friday. We came straight to the meeting and concentrated on it.
“When you practice, you only have a few minutes on the track. It’s quick, quick. You try something, and you feel fast, but not really.
“When you come to the tapes, it’s something different because there are three other riders there. So it’s my decision not to do practice.”
Sayfutdinov won his last two heats to book his place in the semis, before following Jason Doyle home in semi-final one. He then claimed second in the final, trailing winner Maciej Janowski.
Having scored four points in his first three rides, the Leszno and Piraterna ace was pleased to turn his fortunes around.
Sayfutdinov, now sixth in the World Championship after climbing three places, said: “At the beginning, it was a little bit hard for me. I didn’t have good speed and I was just fighting with the bike. I wasn’t going forward.
“After my third race, it went really well. I won two heats and I was last in the semi, but I passed Lindback and Zagar.
“I got into the final and I am really happy to be on the podium. I’d just like to say thanks to my team. We have really worked hard. With that hard work, we got to the final.
“I won the start with Doyle in the final, but Maciej was just a little bit faster on the outside and he passed me. It was good to be on the podium. We scored some important points. I’m going up in the standings and I am really happy.”