French MotoGP: New tactic helps James Toseland to seventh

1 of 1

James Toseland opted to run four Michelin qualifying tyres for the first time today as he claimed seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s 28-lap French MotoGP in Le Mans.

Normally the British rider would only run three soft tyres, but to help him build up speed on new tracks, his Tech 3 team opted on selecting four in his allocation.

And the double World Superbike champion came close to claiming a second row start as Nicky Hayden relegated him to seventh in the closing stages.

Toseland said: “I ran four qualifiers today because on a track I don’t know it is almost like having to learn the circuit again with the extra grip. It just helps me build up speed gradually instead of having to take your brain out.

“There is so much pressure to get a good grid position you can’t afford to make a mistake and having a fourth is like a banker really. I’ve been improving all weekend, but I just need to start on a Tuesday or a Wednesday and I’d be okay!

“As I’ve got more used to the track and we have definitely found a direction with the set-up. I’m hoping it will be dry tomorrow morning because we need to try something else but I got into the 34s on race tyres this afternoon and I need to shave off about half-a-second really.

“But we got rear traction massively better than yesterday. At least now I can drive off the corners better because in China I couldn’t drive of the corners very well and that’s why I was getting passed on the exit.”

Toseland said he was satisfied with his qualifying performance and he added: “I did pretty good times in every section but never managed to put them together on the same lap unfortunately. With a couple of small mistakes you are on the third row without that track knowledge.

“The speed of these guys and their experience is unbelievable and it is tough to beat them when everything is perfect. Nicky (Hayden) just beat me to the second row and I’d have been really pleased with that because it is vital to be on the first two rows to get away with that leading bunch. Being on the third row is quite a big disadvantage so I need a really good start.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt