James Toseland has been crowned the 2004 World Superbike champion after finishing second to Noriyuki Haga
in the final race of the season, at Magny Cours.
Toseland came into today's two races 4-points behind factory Ducati team-mate Regis Laconi, but his race one victory – combined with a third for Laconi, behind Haga – gave the Brit a 5-point lead heading into the all decisive race two.
Pole sitter Troy Corser
again grabbed the holeshot, but by end of the opening laps the Foggy Petronas rider had slipped behind the lead group of Toseland (who banged bars with Chris Vermeulen to take second into turn one) Haga, Vermeulen and Laconi.
Honda mounted Vermeulen would retire at half race distance, following further mechanical woes, leaving the top three to decide the race and world championship.
Toseland would lead until Haga eventually passed the #52 in the closing stages of the 23 lap race, while Laconi - although always in touch with the top two - never rose above third and would slip away from the back of Toseland to finish 2.5secs adrift.
A clearly emotional Toseland has thus becomes the youngest ever WSBK champion, at 23-years-old, after finishing 9-points clear of Laconi at the end of the eleven round 2004 series.
Laconi took seven wins to Toseland's three, but the Frenchman but also suffered five DNFs to Toseland's three.
Meanwhile, Vermeulen's nightmare day has meant he has lost third in the championship to Noriyuki Haga. Haga finished 9-points behind Laconi and took six wins this season, but also suffered five non-point scores.
Full race two results to follow...Race two top ten: