Toseland: These guys are used to being successful – and we will succeed

Double World Superbike Champion James Toseland reckons the competition in 2011 could be tougher than ever - but if BMW Italia is facing a stern challenge, it is one he is convinced the team can surmount
BMW Italia might be a new addition to the World Superbike Championship grid in 2011, but James Toseland is confident that there is enough strength-in-depth inside the team to develop it into a success story, contending that 'there are no better people' to turn the bike into a regular winner.

The S1000RR that will be ridden by Toseland and reigning World Superstock 1000 Champion team-mate Ayrton Badovini was officially unveiled at Monza earlier this week [see separate story – click here], and a key advantage for 'JT' is the fact that many of the leading team members are ex-Ducati Xerox, and as such know him well from the 2004 campaign, when he went on the first of his two WSBK title-winning charges.

“The team was only finalised to actually go ahead two months ago, so to see the bikes as they are now, they look fantastic!” the Yorkshireman enthused, speaking exclusively to “I know the team very well from my Ducati Xerox days, and they are some of the best guys in the paddock. I was always confident they'd be able to get the package up-and-running.

“They won me my first world championship, and it's a pleasure to be back working with them. They're excited as well, because they remember the good times from that year. It's been seven years this year since I won the title with them in 2004, and I think both parties are really looking forward to working together again. They're some of the best engineers in the business, and it's a big weight off my shoulders knowing we've got such good personnel inside the team.

“BMW Italia is classed as a privateer team from the outside, but I know the boss is really upbeat by the prospect of a new Italian team running bikes alongside the official German team. BMW have been in the championship for two years and have gone from having, let's say, a tenth-placed bike to a sixth-placed bike. I think it was a really intelligent move to take advantage of the experience of the Ducati Xerox team that became available – I think that will really help the BMW works team, too.”

Conceding that there will be a natural and competitive rivalry between the two BMW entries, Toseland went on to explain that the Italian operation will benefit from the same electronics as the factory effort, even if it will begin proceedings with the 2010-spec engine whilst the 2011 version remains in development to iron out the final few teething issues. Should it be declared a success by the works outfit in the Phillip Island curtain-raiser, however, the sister squad will likely get its hands on the new powerplant shortly afterwards.

Comparing the current engine to that of the Honda he rode in 2006 and 2007 and revealing that the whole bike feels very different to last season's Yamaha R1, the 30-year-old acknowledged that the chief goal has to be to convert the outstanding results that the production-based Superstock BMW achieved in 2010 into similar glories on the WSBK stage. Even if he is under no illusions that the competition will be as tough as if not tougher than ever this year, Toseland is optimistic that progress will be swift.

“As a package, BMW are giving us everything they can for us to succeed,” stressed the 16-time race-winner. “At the end of the day, this new team isn't there just to put more bikes on the grid – it's to help to develop the whole package.

“I think Aprilia will be as strong as last year, and Max [Biaggi] will be fast again. There are the two Yamaha bikes of Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty – they've been doing well in pre-season testing and I'm sure they will have a strong season as well. Then there's Honda with Jonny Rea and Ruben Xaus, who has a point to prove, and I know what Ruben is like when he has a point to prove – he can be very fast. There's Tom Sykes on the Kawasaki, too. I think there are probably ten guys who all have the possibility of finishing up on the podium, which is great – I think it's going to be a really strong season.

by Russell Atkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Toseland Celebrates World Championship With Mum, Magny Cours WSBK,2004
Toseland Is World Champion, Magny Cours WSBK,2004
Toseland Celebrates World Championship With Team, Magny Cours WSBK,2004
James Toseland - BMW Motorrad Italia  [pic credit: BMW Media]
James Toseland - BMW Motorrad Italia  [pic credit: BMW Media]
James Toseland - BMW Motorrad Italia  [pic credit: BMW Media]
Toseland, Portuguese WSBK Test 2009
Toseland, Portuguese WSBK Test 2009
James Toseland - BMW Italia [pic credit: BMW Media]
Badovini A, Laguna SecaUS  WSB, 2017
Ducati pack up for long haul, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati pack up, Misano WSBK 2017
Badovini, WSBK Race2, Misano 2017
Ducati Panigale engine, Misano WSBK 2017
Ducati Panigale bikes, Misano WSBK 2017

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January 20, 2011 9:49 AM

You guys are unbelievable! What do you expect JT to say? " Yeah, the last few seasons have been disappointing and I don't expect 2011 to be any better..." Of course not! He's not saying that he's the best thing since sliced bread but of course he should be positive. As soon as he stops believing in himself the fight is over. JT has the right attitude- and is twice the rider than Jenson Button is a driver! Button had years of nothing in F1 then became the nations darling. Toseland is twice WSBK champion, he can still come good. Christ, look at Biaggi! People said he was finished but he was the class of the field in 2010. Don't write JT off yet, he deserves his shot in 2011.

Realfan 10 - Unregistered

January 19, 2011 7:38 PM

Go JT prove them all wrong.. be good to see you back at the sharp end.. they say you never forget how to go fast.. you are a two times WSBK champion for a good reason.. people seem to forget..just need to get the aggression back

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