Toseland: I certainly didn't fail in MotoGP

After losing his Tech 3 Yamaha ride to 2009 World Superbike Champion Ben Spies, James Toseland will return to WSBK in 2010 - but he is adamant that he did not fail in the premier class, and suggests he has unfinished business there that he would one day like to complete
James Toseland insists that despite having been forced out of MotoGP before he felt his time was up, he 'certainly didn't fail' in motorcycling's premier class – as he hints that he has unfinished business there and hopes one day to return to set the record straight.

Following a mixed debut campaign with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2008 – beginning brightly but ultimately lacking the consistency to challenge regularly for the leading positions, as his results fell away in the latter stages – much was anticipated of Toseland in 2009, but unfortunately for him, there was scant improvement and the end-of-season score sheet showed that he had indeed tallied 13 fewer points than twelve months earlier.

A number of factors contrived to blight the double World Superbike Champion's efforts, with a brace of accidents in pre-season testing – one of which left him briefly concussed – putting him on the back foot right from the word 'go'. Worse still, a crew chief swap with team-mate Colin Edwards following some communication issues with Frenchman Guy Coulon in 2008, created a somewhat thorny relationship with the American during the early part of the season after the Texan was left out of the loop regarding the switch.

Indeed, Edwards was so incensed that he demanded a wall be erected to divide the two halves of the Tech 3 garage and revealed that the pair 'didn't talk anymore' [see separate story – click here], and if the British star assures that the rift has now healed over, it clearly did little to make things any easier for him early on. Bike set-up woes and jump-start penalties only served to add to his tribulations.

Though he finished inside the points in every race bar two, Toseland's best finishes were a trio of sixth places, whilst Edwards was rarely outside of the top seven and achieved a podium finish – cruelly, perhaps, on his team-mate's home turf at Donington Park. Respectively fifth and 14th in the final standings at the end of the campaign said it all – but the Yorkshireman is adamant that he has no regrets.

“No, not at all,” he told Radio. “I was given the opportunity to move my career forwards and to challenge myself against the elite and the best in the world. As a kid growing up in this game, I felt very fortunate to get the opportunity to do that. The 17 or 18 riders out there are all world champions in their own right – in 125cc or 250cc or Superbike – and that's the level it's at. To enter into MotoGP, you've got to become a world champion at something.

“Everything was there to be had; Colin rode great on the same package, and that was what it was capable of. I didn't perform to the level I should have, which risked my job, and with Ben Spies doing so well in Superbikes that was the case. There's a reason behind it obviously, but I don't think it's a talent issue because in qualifying I nearly put it on pole position for my first GP (in 2008) and I had nine sixth places, which is no mean feat on a satellite bike in MotoGP.

“[The fall-out with Edwards] was just a load of rubbish that the media made up. The engineer that worked for him wanted to switch, and there were issues between him and Colin obviously because of that, but actually there was no issue between me and Colin whatsoever personally. Everybody made a fuss of it in the winter-time – when there's no bike racing going round the tracks, the journalists have to fill the papers with something – but we sorted it out pretty quickly.

“Overall, it was a tough year and we had a few problems, but I really, really enjoyed the challenge. I was upset and disappointed [to lose the ride], because I felt like the challenge wasn't over and I wanted another opportunity, but unfortunately circumstances were the way they were and you've got to move on to wherever it takes you. We certainly didn't fail, but the inconsistency this year cost me being able to carry on at this point.”

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Toseland, Portuguese WSBK Test 2009
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Yamaha pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Spies, WSBK Race1, Misano WSBK 2017
Caricasulo qualifies 3rd, WSS, Misano WSBK 2017
Sykes and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Jonathan Rea and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Melandri and Spies, Misano WSBK 2017
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Pata Yamaha]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Michael van der Mark, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Alex Lowes, Pata Yamaha [Credit: Ian Hopgood]
Pata Yamaha switch gear, Donington WSBK 2017

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pp916 - Unregistered

December 03, 2009 5:33 PM

Crash really do seem to like standing poor old JT up so everybody can pile in and knock him back down again don't they? I would never knock a guy for striving to be the best.....even if you fail to reach that goal, to try in itself is an achievement most of us aren't worthy of.

Gordon Shumway - Unregistered

December 03, 2009 5:37 PM

Why all the hate, guys? From what i can see, james appears to be being honest in this interview and telling it like it is. Yes, he didn't have a great two years, but there were reasons. He's still britain's top rider currently competing, so why not cut him a bit of slack, eh? Besides, i'd like to see how many of you so-called 'experts' could win two wsbk championships.

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