Despite having been, some would say, chewed up and spat out by MotoGP during his two years in the category with Tech 3 Yamaha in 2008 and 2009, James Toseland has confessed that he would 'definitely' be interested in going back should the right opportunity present itself.
Following a solid 'rookie' campaign in the premier class with the Yamaha satellite squad two years ago as the reigning World Superbike Champion, Toseland then endured a tough time of things during his sophomore season, being routinely outpaced by team-mate Colin Edwards, winding up a lowly 14th in the final riders' standings and ultimately finding himself replaced for 2010 by his WSBK title-winning successor Ben Spies – who has himself gone on to make his compatriot Edwards look rather ordinary this year.
When Valentino Rossi was injured at Mugello just over a month ago and Edwards was linked with temporarily taking the Italian's place at FIAT Yamaha, Toseland's current Yamaha Sterilgarda team-mate Cal Crutchlow was in-turn offered the American's ride – but the Yorkshireman was not. Acknowledging that it was a blow not to be considered to step back up again, the 16-time WSBK race-winner conceded that he remains very open to future possibilities to return.
“No, not at all,” he told Crash.net Radio
, when asked if there had been any discussion regarding him substituting Edwards. “I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get the same opportunity as Cal was supposedly offered. Obviously that was a bit of a sticking-point in communication, but my job is in World Superbikes and I've got to do the best I can there.
“At the moment there are no negotiations for MotoGP. I'm happy where I am, so we'll just see if I can keep it going. If a good opportunity came in MotoGP, I'd definitely take it, but we'll have to see. I've never closed any doors in my career, so any opportunity at all I'd love to go back.”
Toseland did at least get close to the premier class at last weekend's annual Goodwood Festival of Speed celebration, as he took to the famous hill aboard an 18-year-old 500cc machine formerly ridden by Australian hero Peter Goddard, and got to rub shoulders with a couple of the sport's true legends.
“It was only the second time I've been, actually,” the 29-year-old confessed. “I've had quite a long career now, and to say I've only been twice is surprising. I came in 2006 with my band, and I really enjoyed it that year playing with them to the crowd. This year I was on Peter Goddard's '92 500cc Yamaha; it's a lovely little thing, so it was quite exciting. It was just a shame I couldn't take it round the circuit, because I'd have liked to open it up a bit really!
“[Eight-time 500cc World Champion Giacomo] Agostini was there and [former 500cc World Champion] Kevin Schwantz on his Suzuki, which is a package that I idolised when I was first watching racing in '93 when he won the championship on that bike. Goodwood is just a great event to be involved with.”TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE