James Toseland brought the curtain down on his rookie MotoGP campaign in Valencia today with a disappointing 11th place finish.
The British rider survived intense late pressure from Sylvain Guintoli and John Hopkins to claim the vital points that helped Tech 3 Yamaha overhaul Suzuki’s factory team for fourth place in the all-important Team World Championship.
The 28-year-old though was bitterly disappointed to finish outside of the top ten having claimed a second row grid position yesterday.
Toseland got a bad start and was locked in a long battle with fellow Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo for the opening 15 laps, twice failing to make overtakes stick on the home favourite.
Having gambled on a dry race set-up with so little dry track time, Toseland then encountered rear grip issues and he was left to produce a determined last three laps to cling onto 11th.
Toseland, who also finished 11th in the final world championship standings, said: “It was a hard to finish a pretty hard season and while it wasn’t how I wanted to finish on a personal note, it was great that I contributed to the team getting fourth by a point.
"I’m glad I managed to hang at the end there because I was coming under a lot of pressure. In the first half of the race I was probably a bit quicker than Jorge but I just couldn’t make a pass on him stick.
"I got him a couple of times but I made mistakes and let him back through. One I put my hand in the air to apologies for a close move going into the first corner and as I put my hand back on for the second corner I missed my braking marker. So I’m annoyed with myself about that.
"I was in a real fight at the end and I was just struggling for a bit of grip. We tried quite a big change on the set-up and it worked well for the first half of the race, but towards the end I had to ride a bit defensive and make sure I didn’t lose too many places.
"The team deserve to be fourth in the championship this year and I was determined to help them achieve it. Tech 3 and Yamaha have given me unbelievable support in my rookie year and I was pleased to battle right to the last lap to get that result for them.”