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Page last updated at 05:27 GMT, Friday, 1 August 2008 06:27 UK

Toseland wants GB Superbikes lift

By Julian Shea

James Toseland
Toseland made his name in World Superbikes before going to MotoGP

James Toseland says British fans should have more home heroes to support in the World Superbikes (WSB) championship.

Despite years of British success in WSB, this year only Chris Walker is flying the flag and he joined his team mid-season, rather than from the start.

Speaking before the British leg of the championship at Brands Hatch, he said: "British fans deserve a British rider.

"Carl Fogarty, Neil Hodgson and myself won seven WSB titles in 15 years, so to have no-one is disappointing."

Over the years, many British riders, including Toseland - a two-time WSB champion before his move to MotoGP - came up through British Superbikes (BSB) on their way to the world competition.

But the chicken-and-egg dilemma about blooding newcomers seems to have put WSB teams off giving untested BSB riders a chance.

People like Troy Bayliss, Noriyuki Haga, Carlos Checa and others are all verging on retirement, so this is a critical point for the series

James Toseland
"We've got talent capable of coming here and putting on a good show, but that talent is inexperienced," Toseland told BBC Sport.

"The benchmark is BSB champion Ryuchi Kiyonari. He's really struggled at WSB level this season, and that's bad for BSB guys who want to come up.

"He is capable of racing at the front, but he needs to do it well to give the others a chance, and to get the WSB teams to believe BSB guys can compete at this level."

Tom Sykes is all set for Brands Hatch

In addition to Walker, fellow Britons Tom Sykes and Simon Andrew have been handed wild card rides this weekend.

But Toseland said he would like to see British youngsters given a chance in WSB on a more regular basis.

And with some of the biggest names on the grid like championship leader Troy Bayliss coming towards the end of their careers, he says this could be the ideal time for an infusion of fresh blood.

"The show is built around the stars," he said.

"In WSB, people like Bayliss, Noriyuki Haga, Carlos Checa and others are all verging on retirement, so this is a critical point for the series.

"They need to get youngsters in so people can recognise them, follow them and keep coming to races to see the show."

see also
Leader Bayliss claims double win
20 Jul 08 |  Motorbikes
Neukirchner & Xaus win at Misano
29 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Haga seals double Nurburgring win
15 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Checa closes gap with double win
02 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Double win stretches Bayliss lead
27 Apr 08 |  Motorbikes
Bayliss increases Superbikes lead
06 Apr 08 |  Motorbikes
Bayliss takes Aussie double win
02 Mar 08 |  Motorbikes
Bayliss impresses in Qatar opener
23 Feb 08 |  Motorbikes
Toseland claims Superbikes title
07 Oct 07 |  Motorbikes
Time is right to move - Toseland
06 Aug 07 |  Motorbikes

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