MotoGP Phillip Island test: James Toseland gains first rain experience

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James Toseland got his first taste of riding Yamaha’s YZR-M1 in rain conditions on a weather-hit second day of testing in Phillip Island.

The 27-year-old posted a best time of 1.43.719 on a dismal second morning as the British rider completed 21 laps in heavy rain showers. That was the 11th best time in the wet, with Casey Stoner dominant with an impressive lap of 1.39.800.

The morning rain quickly gave way to bright and sunny skies after the lunch break, but track conditions had deteriorated considerably, with lap times not helped by a gusting wind and low track temperatures.

The weather disruption forced Toseland to abandon plans to complete a full 27-lap race simulation, which he now plans to undertake tomorrow, with the forecast for much better conditions on the last day.

On a dry but slippery track this afternoon, Toseland completed another 34 laps and clocked a best time of 1.31.451. With conditions much less favourable for fast lap times than on the first day, Toseland was 0.6s off his best pace from yesterday. His time was the sixth best today.

The double World Superbike champion said: “It was important to try the bike in the wet for the first time and I got to grips with it quickly. Luckily I did a lot of wet tyre testing for Michelin last year at the Suzuka Eight-hour.

“I had five days of testing and three-and-a-half days were completely wet and I got a bit of time on the Michelin wets so I got a pretty good feeling pretty quickly.

“The electronics work very well and I had a lot of grip. The track was really dirty once it had dried. I don’t know whether the rain brought some sand with it but the track was really slippery. I went out and couldn’t break a 1.35 and it was completely dry.

“I got back down to some decent times but the conditions were still not as good as yesterday. There was just no drive grip exiting corners, so it was more difficult to make a lap time.

“Quite slow corners lead onto the fast straight sections on this track and if you can’t get good grip on the exit, you can’t carry momentum on the straight and that can cost a lot of time. It also got quite windy in the afternoon and that makes it difficult as well. I got some good experience of riding in the rain, and hopefully it will be dry tomorrow so I can try a full race simulation.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt