DARCY Ward says Pirates team-mate Vaclav Milik has the ability to shake up the world championship title race by scoring crucial points on his Grand Prix debut.
Wild card Milik is set to take on the likes of Greg Hancock, Nicki Pedersen and Chris Holder on home soil in the Czech Republic tomorrow.
And while Ward admitted Milik would face a difficult task at Prague’s Marketa Stadium, he said it was within the 21-year-old’s abilities to cause problems for the world’s top stars.
Ward told the Daily Echo: “It’s going to be tough for him. He’ll learn that it’s another level in the Grands Prix but he’ll do alright I’m sure.
“I think he’s the right choice for the wild card there being the good Czech rider that he is, so I think he’ll enjoy it and, possibly, he could go out and win a race.
“He’s a bit of a wild child on a bike so I’m sure he’ll be pulling some shapes and, of course, I hope I can keep him behind me.”
Trailing series leader Krzysztof Kasprzak by six points, Ward is still nursing a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament which he sustained in the opening round in New Zealand.
However, since making his comeback to British racing nine days ago, the Queenslander has been content with how his knee has held up.
He said: “It’s not too bad. I’m still icing it heavily because it swells up after a bit of use, but I’m happy with the way it is after I was told I shouldn’t be riding.
“The way it is now, I think I will be okay to get through till the end of the season.
“I’ve made one Grand Prix final so far this year, which isn’t too bad considering and I’ve got to keep building.
“We’re three rounds in and I’m six points down. I see myself as a title contender and I’m just looking to do the best I can.”
Overall world championship standings (top 10): 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak 35, =2 Greg Hancock 34, =2 Nicki Pedersen 34, 4 Chris Holder 32, 5 Martin Smolinski 31, 6 Freddie Lindgren 30, =7 Jaroslaw Hampel 29, =7 Darcy Ward 29, 9 Tai Woffinden, 10 Matej Zagar 27.