MotoGP: Tech 3 Yamaha boss talks James Toseland
James Toseland’s new MotoGP boss is convinced that the British star will have no problems in quickly adapting to the factory Yamaha YZR-M1 machine he will campaign in 2008.
Herve Poncharal prised James Toseland away from World Superbikes during the recent summer break, and the Frenchman has backed the 26-year-old to make a successful transition.
The current fashion in MotoGP is to pick riders from the 250 GP class, with the riding style similar to that required on the new generation 800cc MotoGP bikes.
But Herve Poncharal has no doubt that James Toseland can switch from a Ten Kate Honda FireBlade and be competitive.
“Troy Bayliss did some great performances. We don’t have to forget Valencia last year and Troy’s victory. I don’t think the difference is that big but I am quite sure James Toseland will be very competitive next year.
“It will be very interesting because a very successful Spanish guy is coming from 250s to Yamaha. A British guy very successful in his championship is coming, so neither of them will have any experience in MotoGP. It will be interesting to compare their performance and their development, “Herve Poncharal told MCN.
Herve Poncharal has assured James Toseland that he will be getting factory support from Yamaha, with the Japanese factory desperate to have more bikes running closer to the front in 2008.
It was the technical assurances that convinced James Toseland to shun offers from his current World Superbike squad and other MotoGP teams to sign with Tech 3, where he will be joined by double World Superbike champion Colin Edwards.
Ponharal added: “I arranged sometimes some Yamaha bosses to join our meetings to confirm to him that Yamaha was very keen and Yamaha will take care of him well. I don’t doubt that he will not be supported absolutely 100 per cent by Yamaha.
“There is not a big difference now between our bikes and that of the factory team. On the data we are always very, very close. We have always been well supported by Yamaha. I wanted to show James the commitment from the factory to him.”
Herve Poncharal said signing James Toseland was always his number one priority after he first met his manager Roger Burnett at the Spanish GP in Jerez back in March.
But he admitted that he never believed that he could lure one of world racing’s hottest properties to his team for ’08.
“When we started to talk with Roger I thought they were talking to me to be nice and they wanted to hear what the possibilities were. They wanted an overall picture In the beginning and I never thought James would have an interest. That’s because when you compare our results to some of the teams that were offering him a ride, the comparison is easy to do and it’s not in our advantage.
“Until the end I was not sure. The real change was when we met quite a few times at Donington Park during the British GP. I think more than the technical package there is also a very important human factor for James and that’s important for him. They were quite clever and worked hard to meet everybody before making their decision.
“We were closer to seeing life how he does than some of the others. What I told him is that I understand the level of James, of his riding level and I understand his expectations and I will do more than 100 per cent to give him what he deserves on every aspect. And I really mean it. I know I have a big job and a big mission because if he is going to MotoGP it’s because he wants to come here and do well. He could have stayed in World Superbikes where he had a great offer and I know we have to give him the best and we will.”
Poncharal recently spent two days relaxing with Toseland at Burnett’s holiday home near Cannes, and he said he was even more convinced that signing Toseland was the best decision.
“It was a good time. It was the first time we had met since the announcement and in a quiet place. I was really pleased with this because out of the all the offers, maybe we weren’t the sexiest, but for James Toseland he is sure he made the right choice and for me this was important to hear.
“The past three weeks have been really intense and gave me a lot of joy and happiness. We have been through difficult years but hopefully things will be brighter and better in the future.
“At the moment it seems like you need to have a have a Spanish or Italian rider coming from 250s if you want to be successful. I met some of them who were in a position to move and who will move and out of all of them James was by far the best guy I had met. James decided to come because he had the feeling there was a good feeling.”