US MotoGP: James Toseland aims for Laguna top six

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James Toseland is hoping his first top six finish of the season in Assen last weekend will inspire him to a repeat performance in Sunday’s American GP at Laguna Seca.

After a nightmare start to 2009, Toseland starred in an epic battle involving seven riders in Assen last Saturday, the British rider emerging from a chaotic final lap to claim his first top six finish since last October.

And the double World Superbike champion is now hoping the confidence gained from his impressive display in Holland will help him in Laguna Seca.

Toseland used a radically different set-up on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1 last weekend, inspired by top Yamaha engineer and factory team director Masahiko Nakajima.

Designed to improve rear traction, Toseland told MCN: “I just had more grip on the rear and it was much more consistent and that allowed me to do some consistent times in Assen .

"It kept me in front of the group and without it I wouldn’t have been able to keep them at bay. I’m just pleased because there wasn’t a lot of pressure in Holland, but I didn’t realise Nakajima was going to be in my box for every second.

"And with that support it gave me some pressure and it’s just nice to repay his effort and help. When you get help from the boss you’ve got to deliver and hopefully that’s what I did.”

The 28-year-old added that he had never doubted that he would rediscover his best form after a hellish start to ’09.

Toseland suffered massive testing crashes in Sepang and Jerez and he added: “Those crashes could have finished my career let alone injured me and I didn’t like that for one bit.

"But Assen has given a platform to build on and I like Laguna Seca, so hopefully I’ll be battling for the top six again.

"I’ve always pushed every single corner of every single lap, but my performances haven’t been good enough. My effort has always been the same and it shows what can happen if you keep the belief and keep working hard no matter what, things will start to come right.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt