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Page last updated at 09:38 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 10:38 UK

Fired-up Toseland keen to restart

By Julian Shea

James Toseland
Toseland has had an eventful introduction to MotoGP

James Toseland says the step-up from World Superbikes to MotoGP has been a big challenge but believes he will keep improving when the season resumes.

Racing restarts in the Czech Republic on Sunday after the summer break, with the two-time Superbikes champion ninth in the championship standings.

"It was immensely tiring trying to take everything in and digest it," he said.

"I want to race for as long as I have a chance to win. I truly believe there's a chance of success at this level."

So far in his brief elite-class career, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider has experienced a variety of emotions, from highs such as qualifying in second place for his debut race, to lows like his disastrous weekend in the British Grand Prix at Donington, where he crashed at the first corner.


"At the start I was inexperienced, I was with a new team, on new tracks and new tyres and I had a lot to learn in pre-season testing," the 28-year-old told BBC Sport.

"But to go to the first race in Qatar and nearly get pole, I obviously thought I've made a great decision - I thought I could be a success in this class like I was in Superbikes."

Toseland had spent seven years in Superbikes so it would have been very easy for him to take the easy route and stick with what he knew - but that was not what he wanted.

"For the last four years in Superbikes, I did what I did and that won me races - I didn't have to think too much about it.

Results don't matter to me at the moment, it's about improving and getting closer to the front

James Toseland

"That's a very comfortable situation to be in, but when you're coming in 10th or 12th in MotoGP and have to find something else to bridge the gap, that's a massive learning curve. To come down the ladder and learn to climb it again is hard work."

Four sixth-placed finishes in his first seven races represented an encouraging start to the season for Toseland, and in the build-up to race eight, at Donington, he was clearly confident of mounting a serious challenge for the podium.

But what he hoped would be the most memorable day of his MotoGP career so far proved to be unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.

"In MotoGP if one piece of the jigsaw is missing, you can have a disastrous weekend," he said.

"The only mistake I made was crashing in qualifying with 10 minutes to go. At that point I was sixth fastest, but I didn't get a chance to put in one last lap and by the end I'd slipped to 16th place. That was the ruining of the weekend.

"When the race came, I got a good start and on the first corner, I tried to pass the 10 or so people I needed to pass on the first lap - unfortunately the tyre wasn't up to temperature and it flicked me off.

James Toseland at Donington
Donington was a wash-out for Toseland in every sense

"It landed on top of me and there was no foot rest on the right hand side and no rear brake, but I wanted to complete the 30 laps for pride.

"I was really emotional afterwards - it was one I'll never forget, but you learn from it."

After a post-Donington dip, Toseland's form seemed to return in the last race before the break, at Laguna Seca, where only a final lap tangle with Shinya Nakano cost him a top-eight finish.

But looking back, he is taking positives from what has happened so far.

"On qualifying tyres I was fifth on grid, and half a second under pole from last year but in the race we didn't have the rubber to match it.

"But results don't matter to me at the moment, it's about improving and getting closer to the front.

"Now we've got a break, if Michelin come out of the blocks fighting in the next race in the Czech Republic and I get a new engine, there's no reason we can't be challenging again."

After six frantic months, a couple of weeks off came as a welcome break - but unsurprisingly for someone who lives life at such a pace, Toseland did not put his feet up.

"I enjoy being busy," he said.

"If I thought I was running myself down, I've got a mind of my own so I can say "no" to things and I would do - but the break is great.

"I've been training with the Marines in Devon, the day before that I was learning how to slide an Aston Martin with Jason Plato, I've caught up with some of my friends in Superbikes and a couple of friends of mine have got married - and I'm still doing the job I've always wanted to."

This interview was conducted before the recent death of Toseland's friend, World Supersports rider Craig Jones

see also
Toseland wants GB Superbikes lift
01 Aug 08 |  Motorbikes
Matt Roberts's MotoGP round-up
21 Jul 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
21 Jul 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi claims maiden US MotoGP win
20 Jul 08 |  Motorbikes
US MotoGP as it happened
20 Jul 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP on the BBC
02 Aug 08 |  Motorbikes
James Toseland Q&A
20 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Tech 3 extend Toseland's contract
12 Apr 08 |  Motorbikes

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