Motegi MotoGP: James Toseland 14th but happy with breakthrough

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James Toseland might have ended up the opening day of practice for the Japanese GP down in a lowly 14th place, but the British rider was still delighted with his performance on his Twin Ring Motegi  debut.

Toseland clocked a best time of 1.49.424 in yet another weather-hit day of MotoGP action in the Far East.

The British rider though was undeterred by his place on the timesheets with the 27-year-old delighted to have made big improvements with the set-up of his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1.

Suspension adjustments led to dramatic improvements with braking stability and corner entry traction and Toseland said: “I was completely lost this morning and to be honest we’ve been a bit lost for quite a few races. I got a good result in Misano but that was only because I was able to do the same lap time on every single lap.

So when everybody else wasn’t that consistent I ended up getting a sixth. But really I was no faster on Sunday than I was on Friday. It has been a really frustrating time but we just tried something radically different with the suspension and all of a sudden it has clicked again and it was a nice feeling. Ignoring the position I’m in because I stayed out on one of the softer tyres for nearly half race distance, I am really relieved to have found something with the bike.

"The change has really helped with braking stability and with the contact of the rear tyre on corner entry. The feeling on the brakes and going in and coming out of corners has not been great for the last few races and we have been chasing our tails trying to find a solution. We all sat down and talked how we weren’t really going in a direction that was good enough and the team has done a great job.

"Today is the nearest I have been to the front in terms of time on a brand new track on the first day, and I’ve only had limited dry time again. I don’t mind learning a track in the rain because it makes it slower, so you can feel the bumps and see the lines. The only thing is I’m missing out on dry set-up time and I’ve struggled with that all year because of how badly we’ve been hit by the rain.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt