Yamaha Sterilgarda has confirmed that James Toseland will be fit to compete in the sixth round of the 2010 World Superbike Championship at Kyalami following his Monza injury last weekend – and the Yorkshireman admits that he hopes he has now got his share of bad luck for the campaign out of the way.
Toseland was taken to hospital suffering from 'light concussion' after finding himself caught up in an opening lap pile-up in the second outing around the legendary Autodromo Nazionale, but since undergoing subsequent CT scans on his neck, the former double WSBK Champion has been given the all-clear to take to the track again this weekend, around an undulating and physically-demanding circuit at which he has not ridden since 2002.
“I think we've definitely had our share of bad luck for the season now!” quipped the 29-year-old, who is still sporting the bruises from his Italian fall. “Last weekend was very frustrating for me; the team have worked so hard and we now have an extremely competitive bike to take the fight to the front with, so to crash out on the opening lap was disappointing. It's made it tougher to bridge the gap to the lead of the championship, but there are still 16 races to go so I'm going to keep my head down looking for podiums.”
“Kyalami is a high-altitude circuit, so all bikes are down on power,” added Toseland's crew chief Frankie Carchedi. “It's quite a tight and twisty track, with no sixth-gear long straights as [there are] at Monza – so we'll modify the gearbox again for this. It's a very bumpy track, so the front forks and rear shock have to be able to follow the bumps to get good traction, which makes it smoother for the rider.
“We need a good qualifying result as it is a difficult place to pass. We tried some different settings at the Misano test purposely for this circuit; we weren't so fast at Misano with them, but we're confident they will be perfect for here in absorbing bumps and giving good traction. The main changes are a different link and different fork and shock settings.”
Toseland and young team-mate and compatriot Cal Crutchlow currently sit respectively fifth and tenth in the riders' standings, but with a bike that is improving by the race in the YZF-R1, Yamaha Sterilgarda WSBK team manager Massimo Meregalli is convinced that both will soon be capable of challenging for the top step of the rostrum on a regular basis – beginning in South Africa.
“This circuit was one of the more difficult ones for our bike last year,” acknowledged the Italian, “but I'm confident that in one year we have made enough improvements and developments to be even better this time – and we intend to start the weekend as we finished the first race at Monza.
“I'm really happy that James will be ready for Friday; we are lucky that he received no serious injuries last weekend. We proved at Monza with both riders that we are one of the strongest teams in the paddock, and we are confident that the development undertaken over the year means we are capable of fighting at the front for race wins in every race.”