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Page last updated at 06:01 GMT, Saturday, 25 July 2009 07:01 UK

Toseland set for Donington test

British MotoGP, Donington Park
Date: 25-26 July
Saturday 25 July: Qualifying: 1250-1600, BBC Red Button/online Sunday 26 July: 125cc and 250cc races: 1220-1435, BBC Red Button/online Race live: 1500-1630, BBC One/online, commentary on Radio Five Live ; MotoGP Extra, 1630-1700, BBC Red Button/online

By Julian Shea

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Toseland - I'm racing for my career

James Toseland says Sunday's British Grand Prix at Donington could be decisive for his future in MotoGP.

Toseland, whose contract expires at the end of the year, has been struggling ever since two big pre-season crashes, and lies 14th in the standings.

"This country deserves a MotoGP rider. I believe I can still be competitive so it could be very important for my future," he told BBC Sport.

"If somebody wants my ride they'll have to prise my fingers off the bars."

The Tech 3 Yamaha rider is the only Briton competing in motorcycling's elite class.

Sunday's race will be the last MotoGP held at the Leicestershire circuit and Toseland's contractual situation, plus the memory of his disastrous crash on the opening corner of last year's race, just add to the drama surrounding this year's event.

The former double World Superbike champion has struggled this season, ever since heavy crashes at two of the three pre-season tests cost him valuable time for getting used to his new bike set-up, as well as taking a physical toll.

"We only had limited testing in winter and those crashes didn't enable me to test for half that time," he said.

Until I get the best of the best the manufacturer produces, it's difficult to show what I can do, but when I'm less than a second-and-a-half off Valentino in qualifying, I know I'm doing well

James Toseland

"With the new tyres it was crucial to do laps - we couldn't afford to give the other guys a running start, and unfortunately that's what I did.

"I was very lucky to get away (from the crashes) as far as broken bones went.

"I damaged my arm badly though - I'm not sure if it was the muscle or tendon, but I lost a lot of strength.

"I had no feeling in my arm at all when I crashed and it took several months to get the strength back."

But with the season at its midway-point, two recent top 10 finishes in Holland and Germany suggest that Toseland's fortunes may finally be starting to change.

"I really feel I'm riding well at the moment," he stated.

"To finish in the top 10 means I'm doing well - the difference between a fantastic weekend and an average weekend is that close, it can be 0.1 of a second per lap, so we have to keep the concentration going."

Toseland rides with Colin Edwards for Yamaha's second-string team, and he said it was the prospect of riding for the same manufacturer as reigning world champion Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, that persuaded him to sign for Yamaha in the first place.

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"With Valentino being on a Yamaha they have to produce a fantastic bike - that's the pressure they're under, so that's the thing that made me decide to go with them.

"A satellite team doesn't have the same spec bike as him, but it's not a bad package at all and it's certainly capable of finishing around fifth place.

"Until I get the best of the best the manufacturer produces, it's difficult for me to show what I can do, but when I'm less than a second-and-a-half off Valentino in qualifying, I know I'm doing well.

"I can only compare myself with Colin, and when he's finishing ninth and I'm 10th, like happened in Germany, obviously we're pushing the package close to its limits."

James Toseland
Toseland will hope to make amends for a disastrous 2008 British Grand Prix

Toseland is aware of the speculation regarding his future, but refuses to be distracted by joining in, or wondering how he would do on a different bike, preferring to deal with realities.

"I never think about what it would be like if I had what somebody else has got," he added.

"I'm just concentrating on the package I've got to do the best I can. I know what it's capable of and I need to show the bike's potential to keep my job."

But he admits one of the factors which may have a say in deciding his future is a decision to be made by another Yamaha rider - Rossi's colleague Jorge Lorenzo, whose contractual stand-off is one of the sport's main talking points at the moment.

"We're waiting for Jorge to make his decision and then everyone else can decide," he said.

"Until the top riders are sorted, everyone else has to wait. Top riders are expensive so the manufacturers need to know what they're doing with their budget."



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see also
Lorenzo wants new Yamaha contract
22 Jul 09 |  MotoGP
Matt Roberts' MotoGP column
21 Jul 09 |  MotoGP
Rossi pips Lorenzo for German win
19 Jul 09 |  MotoGP
Qualifying is key, says Toseland
06 May 09 |  MotoGP
Toseland eyes greater consistency
07 Apr 09 |  MotoGP


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