Grand Prix preview 2012

Graeme Bailey runs the rule over the 2012 Grand Prix contenders

By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @skygraemebailey.   Last Updated: 27/03/12 11:40am

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Greg Hancock: Remarkable year in 2011

Greg Hancock: Remarkable year in 2011

Sky Bet

The 2012 Grand Prix season is ready to roar into action and we cast our eye over all the contenders for the world title.

There are again 15 permanent members of the Grand Prix circuit, joined by one wild card for each of the 11 rounds - click here for the GP schedule.

Skysports.com predicted finishing order:


1 - Chris Holder
2 - Andreas Jonsson
3 - Greg Hancock
4 - Tomasz Gollob
5 - Jarek Hampel
6 - Emil Sayfutdinov
7 - Jason Crump
8 - Kenneth Bjerre
9 - Nicki Pedersen
10 - Antonio Lindback
11 - Hans Andersen
12 - Fredrik Lindgren
13 - Bjarne Pedersen
14 - Chris Harris
15 - Peter Ljung

2011 proved to be an astonishing year with nobody tipping the eventual, and thoroughly deserved winner, Greg Hancock.

The veteran American recaptured the world crown he first won back in 1997, and along with our full preview we have got an exclusive interview with the World Champion - which you can read here.

Remember you can catch every single round of the Grand Prix series live and exclusive on Sky Sports HD.

Skysports.com will also be covering each round of the GP and this year we will be bringing an all new interactive element so you can chat and comment about each race as it happens. This will launch for the opening round in New Zealand.

Now we run you through each of this year's Grand Prix stars, bringing you all their GP stats, their opinion on the season ahead and our prediction on how they will shape up.

Rider by rider:

Hans Anderson - Denmark

Age: 31

GP qualification: Nominated rider

GPs ridden: 75

GP finals: 21

GP wins: 4

What he says: "I feel completely healthy and I am hungry for victory. I'll have a clear mind and it won't be the same rider entering the GP in 2012 that raced in 2010."

What we say: Seems to be really up for the challenge after getting the chance back on the GP stage. A quality performer capable of finishing in the top-8.

SkyBet odds: 100/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 11th

Kenneth Bjerre - Denmark

Age: 27

GP qualification: Finished 7th in 2011

GPs ridden: 39

GP finals: 7

GP wins: 1

What he says: "I'm going into every year trying to be world champion and I believe I can do it in the next three years."

What we say: A very good gater who won't need much improvement to really challenge at the top end in 2012. Possible dark horse for podium finish.

SkyBet odds: 22/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 8th

Jason Crump - Australia

Age: 36

GP qualification: Finished 4th in 2011

GPs ridden: 133

GP finals: 73

GP wins: 22

What he says: "I've been champion before and I understand what it takes to be a world champion. Before you can get there, you have to be able to perform at your best. If I can perform at my best and be more competitive than I was in 2011, then that's a big step forward for me."

What we say: Major question marks over whether Crump really has the desire to win the world title again, he obviously says he does but that remains to be seen, could be in for another tough season.

SkyBet odds: 7/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 7th

Tomasz Gollob - Poland

Age: 40

GP qualification: Finished 5th in 2011

GPs ridden: 140

GP finals: 55

GP wins: 21

What he says: "I still feel young and want to continue winning, I want to leave after breaking records and I want to go down in history with the best possible results."

What we say: Seems eager to recover from a disappointing 2011 when he surrendered his world crown a bit too easily. Could be a danger again this year.

SkyBet odds: 13/2

Skysports.com predicted finish: 4th

Jarek Hampel - Poland

Age: 29

GP qualification: Finished 3rd in 2011

GPs ridden: 61

GP finals: 18

GP wins: 2

What he says: "I dream of a world title. I want to go even better this season than in the two previous years. I realise how hard it is to be the best in the world."

What we say: There is nobody better prepared or with better equipment than Hampel, but he keeps flattering to deceive. Has the ability and could push for title.

SkyBet odds: 9/2

Skysports.com predicted finish: 5th

Greg Hancock - USA

Age: 41

GP qualification: 2011 World Champion

GPs ridden: 144

GP finals: 58

GP wins: 15

What he says: He told Sky Sports: "I am totally prepared, I have been in this situation before fortunately - mentally it is hard, but physically it will be the same with the bikes and everything, but there will be a bull's-eye on my mark and everyone will want a piece of me."

What we say: Hancock seems dialled in again and he will not be underestimated this time around. He knows how to prepare his bikes for different tracks and will again be challenging.

SkyBet odds: 5/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 3rd

Chris Harris - Great Britain

Age: 29

GP qualification: Nominated rider

GPs ridden: 55

GP finals: 7

GP wins: 1

What he says: "It's about getting a good start and keeping that run going. I know if I can do that, I can be fighting for a medal in the Grand Prix. If I finish on the podium, I'll be very happy."

What we say: Has never recaptured the form that saw him win the British GP in 2007. Does not look capable of challenging and this season could be his last in the GP for a while.

SkyBet odds: 33/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 14th

Chris Holder - Australia

Age: 24

GP qualification: Finished 8th last year

GPs ridden: 22

GP finals: 4

GP wins: 2

What he says: "The medals are what you're in it for. You want to be running at the top and you want to be the champion. It's not easy and it's a long series, so anything can happen. But I can beat all the guys in there."

What we say: Holder has taken to GP speedway like a duck to water, and we feel he could be the man to upstage everyone. World title material.

SkyBet odds: 7/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 1st - World Champion

Andreas Jonsson - Sweden

Age: 31

GP qualification: Finished 2nd in 2011

GPs ridden: 101

GP finals: 20

GP wins: 8

What he says: "My dream is to be the world champion one day. That's what keeps me going all the time. I don't want to have any expectations on me or have any pressures that I must win this, or people saying I'm the favourite."

What we say: Jonsson is one of the most natural riders in the world and we think 2012 could be his year, he looks certain to challenge for top spot.

SkyBet odds: 5/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 2nd

Antonio Lindback - Sweden

Age: 27

GP qualification: Won Grand Prix Challenge

GPs ridden: 44

GP finals: 8

GP wins: 0

What he says: "The day I stop thinking about being World Champion is the day to stop."

What we say: Precocious talent, has all the ability in the world but lacks consistency. Will do well to make the top 8.

SkyBet odds: 50/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 11th

Fredrik Lindgren - Sweden

Age: 26

GP qualification: Nominated rider

GPs ridden: 48

GP finals: 8

GP wins: 0

What he says: "I've missed out by one place twice in the last three years. I honestly believe if I hadn't suffered the bad crash at Wolverhampton last year I would have finished in the top eight."

What we say: The fact he is yet to win a GP despite 8 finals says a lot. Can be very quick on his day but has never made the real step up to the world stage.

SkyBet odds: 33/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 12th

Peter Ljung - Sweden

Age: 29

GP qualification: GP Challenge

GPs ridden: 3

GP finals: 0

GP wins: 0

What he says: "There is a bit more to do. At the same time, one must remember that this is only 12 rounds. So I have not really made any major changes. I'll just do what I think will be good for me."

What we say: Could very well be way out of his depth at this level after getting entry following other riders ruling themselves out.

SkyBet odds: 500/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 15th

Bjarne Pedersen - Denmark

Age: 33

GP qualification: GP Challenge

GPs ridden: 59

GP finals: 7

GP wins: 1

What he says: "Everybody in the Grand Prix can win rounds, but I feel I am better mentally prepared for it this time than last time."

What we say: A very good rider who can beat the best on his day. Probably won't quite make it to the top 8 but will have some good rounds.

SkyBet odds: 150/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 13th

Nicki Pedersen - Denmark

Age: 34

GP qualification: Nominated rider

GPs ridden: 109

GP finals: 44

GP wins: 11

What he says: "I feel hungry. I feel up for it and I'm enjoying it again. I've got the equipment and I want to work hard this year."

What we say: Three-time World Champion is still a class act, and if he can finally sort his machinery out, which has been woeful at times in recent years, he could be a danger.

SkyBet odds: 20/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 9th

Emil Sayfutdinov - Russia

Age: 22

GP qualification: Finished 6th in 2011

GPs ridden: 26

GP finals: 8

GP wins: 3

What he says: "I am really looking forward to this year. My mechanics did a great work on motorcycles, so really I'm waiting for the moment to try them out on the track."

What we say: Much will depend if he can avoid injury, which has hampered his past two years, but the Russian is without a doubt capable of mounting a world title challenge.

SkyBet odds: 7/1

Skysports.com predicted finish: 6th

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