Qatar test: James Toseland struggling to recapture confidence

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British rider James Toseland has admitted he is struggling to rediscover his confidence as he ended the second night of testing under the spectacular Qatar floodlights in last place.

Bereft of confidence after his 125mph high-side at last month’s Sepang test, the 28-year-old could only log a best time of 2.00.234 in his 51 laps as he struggled to find a comfortable front-end feeling with his Tech 3 Yamaha YZR-M1.

His time was 3.095s adrift of Casey Stoner’s impressive best and nearly 0.5s slower than Ducati rookie Mika Kallio, who walked away unhurt from a crash just minutes after the track had re-opened from Dani Pedrosa’s spill.

But Toseland’s bid to restore some confidence has hardly been helped by tricky conditions in Qatar.

The opening night was ruined by a short rain shower that restricted Toseland to just seven laps. And strong winds made the second night’s track time only marginally more productive, with dust and sand blown onto the track.

Even the best lap times were still two seconds off 2008 race pace, but double World Superbike champion Toseland admitted he had found it tough going.

“It has been tough,“ he told MCN as he sat and reflected on his performance in the Tech 3 Yamaha garage. “I’m just lacking that bit of confidence after what happened in Malaysia, and the track being a bit dirty from the wind and it then getting a bit moist later on and that’s not helping me at all. I just need to build that confidence.

“I think it looks worse than it actually is but clearly I’ve got a lot of work to do. It is obviously going to be a slow process getting back up to speed again. The problem is I haven’t got that much time to play with now with only one more test remaining.

“The big issue I’ve found on the new bike here is a vague feeling with the front and that’s hurting my corner speed on the long apex corners. I’m just struggling to feel the front.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt