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EXCLUSIVE Q&A: James Toseland

27 October 2005

Less than a day after being officially announced as a Winston Ten Kate Honda rider for the 2006 World Superbike season, Crash.net collared James Toseland to ask the former champion all about his new deal, his thoughts on the return of 2001 champ Troy Bayliss and much more...


Q:
James, there's just been a big announcement about your plans for next season?

James Toseland:
Yeah, I've got a music contract to play the piano and its my new job... No, I'm joking! I've got a Honda ride with the Ten Kate team, in place of Chris Vermeulen, and I just can't wait. It's a great opportunity.

Unfortunately I lost my job with Ducati, to Troy Bayliss, so it's been a stressful few weeks, but then this great opportunity came up and I can't wait to get started.

Q:
How long has the Ten Kate deal been on the cards for?

James Toseland:
Well it's been a rumour, but it's all been what Chris Vermeulen does. Because obviously they had to keep the opportunity open for him to come back if he wasn't going to GPs. So when he finally decided that he was going to GPs that opened the door up for me, which obviously I was very pleased about.

Q:
It's been a while since you were on a four-cylinder machine - are you looking forward to getting back onto one?

James Toseland:
Well, I've never ridden a four-cylinder Superbike - I've only ever ridden 600s and that was seven years ago - but it won't be a problem; I've seen the bike perform, it looks a great package and I just can't wait to get on it and see what it's all about.

Q:
So when will you first get to ride it?

James Toseland:
The 14th and 15th of November in Valencia.

Q:
Are you excited?

James Toseland:
Can't wait! My flight's already booked.

Q:
Looking ahead to next season, how do you think Troy Bayliss will do?

James Toseland:
I don't know. I mean Bayliss is going to be an unknown force really, he has no Pirelli experience, he's never ridden the 999 - he's ridden the other Ducatis, the 998s - and he's just had a bad injury, I think he's had 18 screws in his left wrist. But he's a very talented guy and I'm sure he'll be competitive.

Q:
Any ideas what your former team-mate Regis Laconi's plans are for next year?

James Toseland:
I don't know. I've heard rumours that he's trying to get with Kawasaki as Chris Walker's team-mate but, other than the rumours that you probably know, I'm not sure what he's doing.

It's very difficult because everybody stayed put. So there's no openings anywhere - the Suzuki team kept the same riders, the Yamaha team kept the same riders so it's very difficult.

Q:
How hard is it when you come to the end of a season and you're not sure where you'll be going?

James Toseland:
It's a strange old sport - one year I was winning the world championship and the next year I'm looking for a job. But now I've got this opportunity with Honda it'll give me the best chance to get my #1 back and get back on top again.

I got used to the #1 by the end of this year - it was a bit strange at the start, not having the #52. I'll have the #52 again next year, but I certainly want my #1 back again.

Q:
What are your plans for the off-season?

James Toseland:
I'm going to get training hard. My book's also just come out - it actually sold out in the first week, so they've gone to reprint. It's an autobiography, Ted Macauley wrote it and it's doing really, really well, so at the moment I'm book signing everywhere - it's keeping me busy.


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