While some may consider his frustrating two-year tenure in MotoGP as the defining moment of what remained a long career on the international motorcycling scene, James Toseland cannot be forgotten as the man that has two World Superbike titles to his name.
The Briton's career has peaked and troughed over the years, and while his most recent foray to WSBK has not quite been the success he – and many – had predicted, there is no denying the talents of a man that has racked up 16 WSBK wins over the years.
Toseland, a former trials rider who overcame family problems and injury early in his career, made his first impression on the motorcycling scene with a run to third position in the British Supersport Championship, a performance that saw him promoted to the Castrol-backed Honda outfit on the world championship for both 1998 and 1999, the then 19-year-old improving to 11th position at the second attempt.
Returning to the domestic scene in 2000 for his Superbike debut with the Paul Bird Honda team, Toseland endured a tough maiden campaign on the faster machinery with a run to 12th position overall.
Nonetheless, he was still rewarded with a spot in GSE Racing's World Superbike effort for 2001 alongside Neil Hodgson
aboard a Ducati. Toseland did not disgrace himself alongside accomplished rivals to finish the year in 13th overall and clutching a best finish of sixth on home ground at Brands Hatch.
Staying with Ducati but switching to HM Plant, Toseland made notable strides in 2002, proving a consistent top ten performer to lift him up to seventh position in the final standings. However, whilst he did climb onto the podium for the first time with a run to third at Assen, it was a single occurrence.
His progress helped him secure a stay of execution with the team, Toseland capitalising on Ducati's dominance of the field to add another nine podiums to his tally. More significant was his long awaited first win at Oschersleben, a performance that helped him secure third in the standings and an opportunity to replace Neil Hodgson
at the factory Fila Ducati team for 2004.
With nothing less than the title expected of him, Toseland lived up to expectations to snatch the 2004 championship under dramatic circumstances during a tense title showdown at the Magny-Cours season finale.
Though Toseland trailed team-mate and title foe Regis Laconi
on wins (2 wins to 7 heading into the final round), his better consistency meant the pair headed to France level on points.