Maciej Janowski crowned FIM Rookie of the Year

World Under-21 champion Maciej Janowski is already targeting title No.2 after landing the prestigious FIM Rookie of the Year award at the FIM Gala in Portugal on Sunday night.

The Polish sensation won a public vote ahead of champions from the world's other motorcycling disciplines to take the gong claimed by Australian hotshot Darcy Ward last year.

Janowski's mentor, world champion Greg Hancock, was nominated for the FIM Personality of the Year prize but lost out to World Superbike champion Carlos Checa.

But Magic was over the moon to clinch the Rookie title and is already determined to lift the World Under-21 Championship trophy again in Argentina in November 2012.

After receiving his prize from World Superbike great Carl Fogarty, he said: "It's an amazing feeling. I've always dreamed about being a world champion and I still can't believe what happened this season.

"I'm so happy and now I must work 100 percent harder to prepare for next season. I want to do this again. It's a great feeling.

"I want to say thanks to my family, Greg Hancock's family, my sponsors, my team, Greg's team and all the fans for their support.

"It has been an amazing year for me and my team. My mechanics worked so hard and spent a lot of hours on my bikes.  I'm so happy and I'm ready for next season."

Janowski was quick to pay tribute to the speedway fans that helped him land the FIM prize.

He said: "If the fans hadn't voted for me, I wouldn't have won, so thank you to all the supporters from Poland, Britain, Sweden and the rest of the world."

Like Janowski, Hancock received his FIM World Championship medal from Swedish icon Tony Rickardsson. The six-time world champion, who retired in 2006, was handed an FIM legends' award. And Hancock was honoured to collect his prize from a man he battled for much of his career.

He said: "For me to receive the award officially from him was great. He and I started our careers at roughly the same time in Europe and he has far more individual titles than I do.

"He has been an icon for me as well, so I was pretty inspired and moved that I got to shake his hand and receive the medal from him."

Despite failing to land the FIM Personality prize, which was won by Tomasz Gollob last year, Hancock was far from upset at the end of a season which saw him claim his second World Championship 14 years after he lifted his first in 1997, not to mention four league titles in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

He said: "It would have been the cherry on top, but I'm happy with the season I've had. To be in a list of riders like that was unbelievable.

"I was there with Casey Stoner and of course the overall winner, Carlos Checa, who has been in the game a long time. For me, no commiserations are needed at all. I was happy to be on that list and congratulations to Carlos."

He added: "It has been an amazing weekend. I've hung out with Maciej, my mechanics, my manager Richard and I had a great time with my wife Jennie in Lisbon. To top it all off, I got my hands on the replica of the official World Championship trophy. I'm a happy camper."

Hancock also paid tribute to Janowski, a rider he has taken under his wing over the past few seasons. The pair race together at Swedish club Piraterna and Danish side Slangerup. They have also been linked with moves to Tarnow in Poland for 2012.

The Californian may have missed out on the FIM Personality gong, but he believes the Wroclaw-born man has what it takes to return to Lisbon one day as world champion and pick up the award.

He said: "I take my hat off to that kid. I wasn't surprised that he got it because he's such a hero. It's so wonderful for him. He's such a great kid and I have the utmost respect for him.

"I watched him this evening and you could see the desire and inspiration he has to be a champion. I wouldn't be surprised if you see him here a number of times more in the future."


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