SGP2 champion Mateusz Cierniak launches his FIM Speedway Under-21 World Championship defence at Slovenian track Krsko on Saturday.

Cierniak may have lifted the first SGP2 title of the Warner Bros. Discovery Sports era as the new global promoter rebranded the sport’s junior world championship in 2022. But the Polish star still has to qualify for the 2023 competition.

The Lublin rider bids for 2023 SGP2 qualification at the former Speedway GP venue as he takes on the likes of Czech rising star Petr Chlupac, German talent Norick Blodorn, British racer Leon Flint, 2022 SGP2 star Gustav Grahn of Sweden, Danish star Emil Breum and Slovenian prospect Anze Grmek.

All three qualifiers take place on Saturday and Orlen FIM Warsaw Speedway GP surprise package Bartlomiej Kowalski will hope to earn a 2023 SGP2 spot in the round at Czech track Pardubice.

Kowalski raced to a very impressive four championship points after replacing injured wild card Dominik Kubera at PGE Narodowy last Saturday and the Wroclaw young gun could be among the frontrunners in SGP2 if he makes the top four in Pardubice.

He comes up against Australian star Keynan Rew, Czech duo Daniel Klima and Matous Kamenik, Sweden’s Casper Henriksson, Latvian contenders Ricards Ansviesulis and Ernests Matjusonoks and British riders Drew Kemp and Dan Gilkes.

Latvian racer Francis Gusts is among the contenders in the qualifier at Vojens Speedway Center in Denmark, which is also the stage for the SGP2 title decider on Friday, September 15.

He comes up against Danish racer Jesper Knudsen – brother of 2022 SGP2 star Jonas – plus Polish riders Kacper Pludra and Damian Ratajczak, Swedish star Philip Hellstrom-Bangs, Britain’s Anders Rowe, Australia’s James Pearson and Norwegian talent Mathias Pollestad.

The top four riders at each of the three qualifiers book their place in the 2023 SGP2 series, which launches with the Prague FIM SGP2 of Czech Republic on Friday, June 2 – 24 hours before the Prague FIM Speedway GP of Czech Republic on Saturday, June 3. 

Round two takes place at Polish track Gorzow on Friday, June 23, with the title decider at Vojens on Friday, September 15 – with both rounds also followed by Speedway GP action on the Saturday night.

The 2023 SGP2 field will be completed by three wild cards, which will be confirmed by the SGP2 Commission very soon.

KRSKO LINE-UP: 1 Leon Flint (Great Britain), 2 Emil Breum (Denmark), 3 Norick Blödorn (Germany), 4 Mathias Tresarrieu (France), 5 Roman Kapustin (Ukraine), 6 Julian Kuny (Slovenia), 7 Jacob Hook (Australia), 8 Gustav Grahn (Sweden), 9 Matteo Boncinelli (Italy), 10 Anže Grmek (Slovenia), 11 Mateusz Cierniak (Poland), 12 Richard Füzesi (Hungary), 13 Petr Chlupac (Czech Republic), 14 Bastian Borke (Denmark), 15 Maurice Brown (Australia), 16 Mykhailo Tymoshchuk (Ukraine). RESERVES: 17 Mario Häusl (Germany), 18 Patricia Erhart (Germany).

PARDUBICE LINE-UP: 1 Nicolai Heiselberg (Denmark), 2 Ricards Ansviesulis (Latvia), 3 Maksym Sereda (Ukraine), 4 Matous Kamenik (Czech Republic), 5 Jan Jenicek (Czech Republic), 6 Bartłomiej Kowalski (Poland), 7 Casper Henriksson (Sweden), 8 Dan Gilkes (Great Britain), 9 Ernests Matjusonoks (Latvia), 10 Tino Bouin (France), 11 Daniel Klima (Czech Republic), 12 Drew Kemp (Great Britain), 13 Keynan Rew (Australia), 14 Sebastian Kössler (Austria), 15 Nazar Parnitskiy (Ukraine), 16 Erik Bachhuber (Germany). RESERVES: 17 Bruno Belan (Czech Republic), 18 Matj Frýza (Czech Republic).

VOJENS LINE-UP: 1 Jonny Wynant (Germany), 2 Anders Rowe (Great Britain), 3 Artjoms Juhno (Latvia), 4 Kacper Pludra (Poland), 5 Jesper Knudsen (Denmark), 6 Ludvig Selvin (Sweden), 7 Francis Gusts (Latvia), 8 James Pearson (Australia), 9 Espen Sola (Norway), 10 Mathias Pollestad (Norway), 11 Esben Hjerrild (Denmark), 12 Philip Hellström-Bängs (Sweden), 13 Alex Martin (USA), 14 Marlon Hegener (Germany), 15 Jaroslav Vanicek (Czech Republic), 16 Damian Ratajczak (Poland). RESERVES: 17 Rune Thorst (Denmark), 18 William Drejer (Denmark).