British rider James Toseland was thrilled with his Mugello debut today as he got his rookie MotoGP campaign back on track with a top six finish.
Looking to bounce back from a nightmare 12th in Shanghai and an early crash in Le Mans, Toseland produced a battling display to claim his third top six finish.
A near collision with Shinya Nakano at the first corner saw Toseland bumped down to 11th at the end of the first lap, but he fought back with passes on Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Colin Edwards, Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden and Loris Capirossi.
He was locked in a duel with American Edwards for much of the second half of the race before Edwards denied him fifth with a pass on lap 15.
Toseland said: ““That was a really hard race and I’ve got to say a massive thanks to my guys at Tech 3 because we found a set-up this morning after losing so much time with the weather and it got me in the top six.
"Considering the lack of dry time track time my Michelin tyres held up fantastically well too, so a big thanks to them as well. I couldn’t have done anymore.
"I was really close to Shinya Nakano in the first corner and that picked me up and I lost quite a few places. I kept my calm because I knew it was a long race and I didn’t want to make the same mistake as I did in Le Mans.
"I just had to settle down and I didn’t do anything stupid. It’s nice to follow Colin home on the same package. Colin did a great job as well. I passed him early on but he found his pace. I held him towards the end but he just found those extra few tenths a lap and that was enough for him to pass me.
"You can tell he has got a lot of experience on these bikes and his bike doesn’t do move so much. I feel like I’m wrestling mine a bit too much but I’m still learning. With the setting I had the bike wasn’t so stable on the faster corners but my bike is one of the best out there and thanks to Yamaha.
"I rode hard in that race and if I was riding this hard and finishing fourteenth my morale would be seriously dented, but when I’m riding really well and the package is working well, I’m back in the top six again and this is where I need to be.”