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Can Toseland fly the flag?

By Matt Roberts
BBC Sport, Catalunya

James Toseland
Will Toseland be sitting pretty come 22 June at Donington Park?
After two home winners from the last two rounds, the question sweeping the British contingent in the paddock on Sunday night was can it be three from three?

Another outstanding performance from James Toseland in Barcelona has whetted everybody's appetite for the 22 June race at Donington Park, where chances of a victory are slim but hopes of a podium well-founded.

The smart money will be on Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, who are in top form and all have strong records at Donny, but there is no reason why James cannot challenge.

After mastering two new tracks in the shape of Mugello and Catalunya, he will relish the chance to work purely on bike set-up from the first free practice session and make the step up from consecutive top six finishes to that next level.

With England's football fans looking for somewhere to vent their patriotism this summer, hopefully there'll be a few more numbers on the gate too.

If you're still wondering what to do with the St George's flag you bought for the last World Cup - why not come and give it an airing at Donington?


Valentino Rossi showed his support for the Italian national team with a new livery in their colours and possibly the weirdest set of leathers I have ever seen.

It was supposed to be a football kit, complete with shorts and socks, but how many Italian footballers have you seen with pink arms?!

606: DEBATE
SussexHooper
It's not the first time Vale has got involved with the Azurri. In 2006 he wore a Marco Materazzi shirt on his victory lap at Sachsenring to celebrate their victory in the World Cup final and, earlier this year, he wrote an open letter to Roberto Donadoni pleading for Alessandro del Piero to be picked for the Euros.

It made the front page of Gazzetta dello Sport and Del Piero was duly picked.


Rossi's old sparring partner Sete Gibernau was back in the paddock at Barcelona, just a few weeks after confirming that he had split with his wife Esther Caņadas.

His relationship with the supermodel was cited by many as one of the main reasons he quit racing, and his presence in the Ducati garage for much of the weekend seemed to many like more than a friendly visit.

I asked Sete on Saturday if he planned to return to MotoGP and his answer was suggestively open-ended: "I don't know. Motorcycle racing has always been my life and it is great to be back in the paddock."

With Marco Melandri still no closer to finding a competitive set-up for his Desmosedici it could soon by time for a radical move by Ducati.

A return for Gibernau, who spent his final MotoGP season with the Italian factory in 2006 and looks to be in great physical shape, would certainly tick that box.


A combative weekend in Catalunya was not without its casualties, the worst of which was 125cc rider Esteve Rabat.

Bradley Smith's team-mate from last year took a huge whack to the head in practice on Friday and was on his way to hospital for scans when he lost consciousness.

Doctors decided to put him in an induced coma overnight and thankfully when they woke him on Saturday morning the CAT scans came back clear.

Jorge Lorenzo also gave the paddock a scare with his crash on Friday, when he was also knocked out.

Loris Capirossi
Capirossi was among the casualties this weekend
For 20 minutes after the crash Jorge thought he was back in China and couldn't even remember what class he was racing in.

Luckily his scans also came back clear and it now seems the biggest inconvenience to his recovery will be damage to the fourth finger on his right hand, which is missing two centimetres of skin. He was due to undergo a skin graft on Monday morning.

John Hopkins battled through the pain of a cracked L4 vertebrae, sustained in a practice crash, to race on Sunday whilst Loris Capirossi suffered a hand injury in the collision with Alex de Angelis that saw them both crash out.

A dislocated fracture of the fifth right metacarpus and a deep wound and loss of skin to his fifth right finger mean that his presence at the British Grand Prix is now in serious doubt.

Hopefully yours isn't.


see also
James Toseland Q&A
20 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Pedrosa powers to Catalunya win
08 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Rookie Toseland comes good
02 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes
Steve Parrish's MotoGP column
06 Jun 08 |  Motorbikes


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