By Peter McLaren

James Toseland is looking forward to Valentino Rossi signing a new contract with Yamaha - since he believes it will help his own MotoGP prospects.

Rossi, a Yamaha rider since 2004, is expected to announce a new two-year deal by the start of the summer break on July 21st at the latest.

Toseland, already confirmed at Tech 3 Yamaha for 2009, not only welcomes the move - but has revealed that Rossi riding an M1 was a factor in his own choice of machinery for his debut grand prix season.

During an exclusive interview with, Toseland was asked if Rossi staying was good or bad for him personally.

"It's definitely a good for thing for me for Valentino to stay here," replied the Englishman. "That was one reason why I made the decision to come to this manufacturer, because if Valentino Rossi - with all his experience and success - has a bad race nobody points the finger at him. They point to whatever bike he's on and that keeps the manufacturer on his toes to always improve."

With Rossi looking certain to stay alongside Jorge Lorenzo at the factory team, the only M1 seat still unoccupied for 2009 is alongside Toseland at Tech 3.

Colin Edwards presently has that place and, having taken a pole and podium already this season, Herve Poncharal is keen to keep the Texan - although budget seems to be a sticking point and Kawasaki has also shown an interest in Edwards.

Toseland hopes Edwards can stay and believes he has enjoyed clear benefits from having the #5 alongside him.

"Colin is very experienced with Yamaha, Michelin and with MotoGP," said James. "And I've know him for 10 years since Castrol Honda days, when I was in Supersport and he was in Superbike.

"We've got a really good relationship and all of his experience has come over to my side of the garage - with settings, with advice, with experience regarding which tyres to use.

"All that has really helped me, especially with the learning curve I've had at the beginning of this season."

But whilst Edwards may still be some way from deciding his 2009 destination, Toseland's M1 future was secured after just two rides.

"I had a two-year deal with a second year option for the team and it was up for discussion in September of this year," Toseland explained. "But because of the second place in qualifying at Qatar and the top sixes that I'd had, in Qatar and Jerez, I'd shown the potential to be competitive at this level and there was no point in wasting any more time.

"We got it signed and sealed. So now we can work closely together and know that all the mechanics, team and rider will be together for two years and we can build a good relationship."

Crucial to the Tech 3 team's competitiveness this season has been access to the latest 2008 YZR-M1s, unlike Honda's satellite teams which are using last year's factory machine.

Toseland and Edwards began the year with a valve-spring engine, but were handed Yamaha's powerful pneumatic-valve design - as used by the factory team - from round three at Estoril.

Toseland confirmed that he will start the 2009 season with a 2009 YZR-M1 - although he isn't sure if his current machine will be updated between now and the end of this season.

"Obviously I ask every weekend when I turn up to see if there's been any goodies [new parts] in the post," said Toseland. "At the moment we'll be riding the package that we've got for the remainder of the season - but it's a good package, it's competitive, and I'll be looking to get the most out of it."

Toseland will be chasing a debut MotoGP podium, in front of his home fans, at this weekend's British Grand Prix at Donington Park.


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