James Toseland unconvinced by small Michelin progress

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British rider James Toseland said it was clear that Michelin’s marginal improvement at the Brno test this week is still nowhere enough to be back in contention for top six finishes.

Toseland’s lap times at the two-day Brno test session were significantly faster than his poor race pace where he struggled with front-end grip on his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1.

He eventually finished 13th and joined a chorus of criticism aimed at Michelin for its continuing woeful performances.

Toseland tested eight new front tyres and the same number of new rear tyres in Brno and he told MCN: “We made some progress with the rear tyres but with the front tyres, nothing.

"I was doing 2.01s in the race and I was doing 58s at the test, so it seems like a dramatic improvement to say we have knocked off nearly three seconds a lap. But we are still another two seconds of, so that just shows how much work we have got to do.”

Toseland added that Michelin dramatically needed to raise the level of its tyre performance for the final six races of the 2008 campaign.

He slipped out of the top ten in the world championship standings for the first time in his rookie season after the Czech Republic GP last weekend, and he added: “I’m pretty happy with that kind of progress in terms of knocking so much time of my lap times, but I hope it is not just a bit of progress and we stop at that again.

"We need to make that kind of progress each day to be competitive. But while we haven’t got a front tyre it is going to be difficult. We have got the increased performance on the rear but absolutely nothing on the front.

"So the rear grip is starting to push the front even more and wears it out even faster. Now we need the balance because it is no good just concentrating on one when we have got problems with the front and rear.

"I would have preferred to see a bit more improvement on the front because that’s the big issue. If I could have done 58s and low 59s in the race then you’re fighting for the top six and it wouldn’t have been such a disaster.”

Toseland was also upset that the tyres that we he tried during the test were not made available for him to put in his allocation for the race weekend.

The 27-year-old said: “I’m a bit confused and frustrated as to why we were racing on the tyres that we were doing and we had these in the box that were 2.5s faster. At a crisis time like this I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t take the risk to bring these out for the race.

"They must have been too conservative again because these tyres were here to test. It would have been difficult anyway because there was no improvement on the front tyre but that improvement on the rear would have at least let us put a show on.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt