Double World Superbike Champion James Toseland has quipped that his 2010 team-mate Cal Crutchlow is 'a bit like Marmite...you either love him or hate him with the things he comes out with' – as he admitted that finishing third in the standings on his comeback to the series this season would not really mean a great deal to him.
Much was made in the media of the relationship between the two Brits earlier on in the year – one stepping down from a disappointing couple of campaigns MotoGP, the other stepping up from a triumphant run to glory in World Supersport at the first attempt – particularly in the wake of some misconstrued comments made by Crutchlow following the Portuguese outing at Portimão in late-March.
All, however, appears to be more than well inside the Yamaha Sterilgarda camp – though Toseland does acknowledge that his younger countryman's refreshing predilection for speaking his mind may not always be to everyone's taste.
“Things are fine,” the Yorkshireman told Crash.net Radio
. “He's an outspoken young lad and he doesn't hold back – there's no filter with him! I think he's a bit like Marmite – you either love him or hate him with the things he comes out with – but for me personally, we've had a great working relationship and he's riding very, very well.”
The same could indeed be said for both men this year, even if the results have not always reflected that given the inconsistencies of the Yamaha R1 and its tendency to slip from the pace in the latter stages of races. The bike is frustratingly almost but not quite on a par with its rivals from Aprilia, BMW and Suzuki – but 'JT' is confident that by means of some hard work over the remainder of the season, everything can still be put in-place to allow for a tilt at a third world title in 2011.
“It's been literally a bit up, a bit down,” the 29-year-old mused of his WSBK return. “When I've been fit and everything's good, we've been on the pace and on the podium – though I haven't had my first win yet, so I'll be looking for that in Brno. I've just had a couple of niggling injuries. I broke my hand badly in the first race and that marred the season a bit, and then I had a big crash at Monza where the foot peg went in my neck.
“It's just [a case of] hard work, which is what the team's doing and what I'm doing to keep up the development on the bike. The development on the Aprilia especially this year has been incredible, and everybody is just trying to keep up with that. It's the same any year, but this year Aprilia have put a lot of money into the project and it shows. Yamaha is doing a great job, though, we'll keep on pushing and the bike is capable of being up there – it just needs a bit of work.
“I've got to take it race-by-race and hopefully just bring some trophies home between now and the end of the season. The championship is going to be tough to claw back. Third place is possible of course, but I've won it twice and whilst second or third is nice, it's nothing like winning, so I'll just be concentrating on doing as well as I can this year to the end of the season and then getting myself back to full fitness for a championship challenge next year.”
TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE