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Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 13:39 UK

Steve Parrish's MotoGP column

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

On to the penultimate race of the MotoGP campaign, and Great Britain's James Toseland is one man who probably doesn't want the season to end.

His performance at Phillip Island was the best we have seen from him, and he deserved to finish higher than sixth.

James Toseland
Toseland is really back on it now after his mid-season blip and has proved he is a world-class MotoGP rider

James was desperate unlucky to be pipped for fourth place in the final stages.

He is really back on it now after his mid-season blip and has proved he is a world-class MotoGP rider.

He suffered a lean period following a less-than-successful home GP at Donington and started to lose a bit of confidence and reliability with the bike.

There were a couple of tracks where Michelin tyres just didn't work that well, and you just get the feeling that better tyres would see him make a podium or two.

I went to his birthday party last Sunday after the race which was really good fun, he seemed relaxed, buoyant and very proud of his performance.

The whole team turned up to the party, including all the mechanics from both his and Colin Edwards' side of the Tech 3 Yamaha garage.

This shows how popular he is, he really looks after people and gets a lot of respect in return.

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He is a real grafter and a fighter, gives it a real go and is not a respecter of reputations, which all bodes well for the start of next season.

Malaysia is one of the hardest races of the season due to the weather conditions out here.

The heat saps the bike's horsepower, and fitness really becomes a crucial factor. The riders will have been training very hard this week and I know that Toseland has been in the gym preparing.

It is a real test of endurance and the track itself is one of the hardest on the circuit, but I hope we can really see a ding-dong battle between Casey Stoner and champion Valentino Rossi.

I can't help but feel we have been robbed of good races this season.

Even last time out in Australia, Rossi started 12th on the grid meaning Stoner was free to romp to victory without us seeing a good battle between them.

That's not taking anything away from Casey, in that race he was very much the man.

He has got everything to gain in the last races of the season. Even though the title has already been lost he will still be desperate to win again this weekend.

He said before Phillip Island that he was having an operation on his injured wrist and hinted that it was career threatening.

I can't help but feel that this has all been blown a little bit out of proportion.

Scaphoid injuries are very awkward, but he proved that it hasn't been affecting him that much by winning the race.

He is going to have the operation straight after testing Ducati's new Desmosedici GP9 bike following the final race of the season in Valencia on 26 October.

It's a sensible decision by Ducati so Casey can use the biggest gap in the calendar to recover and plot how he is going to win his world title back from Rossi.

Sepang prediction 1. Stoner 2. Rossi 3. Lorenzo

Steve Parrish was talking to Paul Birch

see also
Superb Stoner wins in Australia
05 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Stoner fixes wrist surgery date
16 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Matt Roberts' MotoGP round-up
05 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi roars to sixth world title
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP on the BBC
02 Aug 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
31 Aug 08 |  Motorbikes
BBC pundits on MotoGP 2008
06 Mar 08 |  Motorbikes
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  Motorbikes

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