James Toseland delighted with fifth in qualifying for US MotoGP

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British rookie James Toseland shrugged off a frustrating last three races to give himself a massive confidence boost in qualifying at Laguna Seca.

Toseland will start the American GP from fifth on the grid after he clocked a best time of 1.21.848 on his last Michelin qualifier.

That time had put him in third spot with just two minutes remaining but he was happy to have scored a fourth second row of the season.

His fifth place was his best qualifying performance since he claimed a front row start on his debut in Qatar back in March, and the Tech 3 Yamaha rider said: “With the way we have worked today with the set-up, I was confident that once we got on the qualifiers with a bit more grip that I could get up there.

"I had to pin it and to do a 21 around here is not easy but I got the job done. I’m just so pleased for my team because we have been working really well and so hard that I feel we have deserved it after our bad luck over the last two rounds.

"We have all kept plugging away and nobody has dropped their heads and now we are on the second row, which is great.

"When I went out I saw 21.9 was third and I came across the line and saw 21.8 on the dash and I was hoping that would be good enough for the first two rows. You can get two laps on a qualifier here but on my second lap I ran wide at the first corner and I knew I couldn’t really get that time back.

"I was just hoping that was going to keep me on the first two rows and it did. I have got that softer race tyre which I saved for today and kept one back for the race.

"I can do mid to low 23s on that and that could be a possible top six finish. With some of the issues we have had this weekend I’d be satisfied with that. I just need a decent start to try and get away with the leaders.

"I’m getting the hang of the starts and I’m not as nervous as before because it is quite a technique to get these bikes off the line. When you’re flat-out at 14,000 revs and you want to dump that clutch as fast as you can, you really need to know what you’re doing.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt