New Zealand Grand Prix: Jaroslaw Hampel returns to form with victory
Last Updated: March 23, 2013 3:07pm
Jaroslaw Hampel: Victory in New Zealand
Polish star Jaroslaw Hampel put an injury-ravaged 2012 behind him and stormed to victory in the New Zealand FIM Grand Prix.
The Zielona Gora and Vetlanda man topped the rostrum at Auckland's Western Springs stadium, heading a Polish one-two with Tomasz Gollob. Nicki Pedersen came home third and Greg Hancock was fourth.
Hampel missed much of last year's racing after breaking his ankle in the Danish SGP at Copenhagen's PARKEN stadium in June. He missed four Grand Prix rounds, and was far from his best when he did return to action.
Hempel admits he had been worried he would need a long time to rediscover the sort of power which took him to second in the world in 2010 and third in 2011.
"It's the beginning of the season. There are a lot of strong guys in the Grand Prix and everyone will try to improve in the future. It's a good challenge and it's going to be very interesting this year."
But he proved a point to himself in Auckland and Hampel, who is tied on 15 points with Tomasz Gollob at the World Championship summit, said: "I had a lot of worries in my head because you never know how it's going to be after a bad season. But I tried to think positively.
"I worked really well with my mental trainer and when I started today, my mind was very clear. I knew everyone started from zero and it was a different story this year.
"I had a good few races - not from the beginning, but later on. I found a good line and started again pretty well. I jumped well in the final and when I won, I was really happy because I hadn't got such a good result for such a long time."
Hampel is keeping his feet on the ground as he looks forward to the next round on Polish shale in Bydgoszcz - the European GP on April 20.
He said: "It's the beginning of the season. There are a lot of strong guys in the Grand Prix and everyone will try to improve in the future. It's a good challenge and it's going to be very interesting this year."