James Toseland has said he was too cautious in tricky conditions at the start of today’s Estoril GP as he claimed another top ten finish in only his third race.
Light rain showers falling in certain sections of the track forced Toseland to abandon his normally aggressive start as he dropped from sixth on the grid to 11th on the first lap.
He fought his way back through the pack, firstly passing Casey Stoner on lap eight. He then passed another Aussie in Chris Vermeulen on lap 14 before moving up to sixth with Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden crashing out while lying fourth.
Toseland, who was making his first appearance in Estoril, still moved into fifth in the overall world championship standings after Dovizioso’s crash on lap 16, though he was also grateful to yet another blunder from error prone French rider Randy de Puniet who tumbled out of seventh on the penultimate lap.
Toseland said: “It is another solid finish and I’ve moved into fifth in the championship, so I’ve got to be pleased with that. But it was a tough weekend. Losing that hour of dry set-up time on Friday was pretty crucial, but I still got a second row and top seven on a track I don’t know.
"Honestly though I wasn’t aggressive enough at the start. When we were coming to the grid I saw Rossi pointing to the sky but it was only spitting, and I thought they’d take it a bit easy at the start. I’d got spots of rain on my visor and those conditions are not nice and not knowing the track and a bit of inexperience with the tyres I just didn’t realise how hard you can push.
"But I didn’t get a great start and that lack of experience cost me because I wasn’t sure where to brake for the first corner. I braked too early and got baulked.
"I got into a consistent pace and was running 38s but losing that hour on the first day meant the set-up wasn’t spot on. It wasn’t bad but it could have been better. The rear shock was too soft under acceleration and pumping. So when I opened the throttle that pumping just ran me a bit wide on the exit.
"The package I have got now with the new engine is better than that, and that’s what makes it frustrating. I’m not as happy with this as my other results because the bike is capable of more.
"It was another good day for the Tech 3 team and Michelin so I’ll be looking to get closer to the front in China.”