Toseland happy to make it through the day
Despite the pressure of riding in his home race, World Superbike title leader James Toseland is about as relaxed and comfortable as you could hope after today’s chilly first day at Donington Park.
The Hannspree Honda star hasn’t ridden Donington since 2001 and admits to having to get to know the circuit from scratch again.
The Sheffield man told MCN he and the team are just happy to make it through the first day unscathed after track temperatures barely reached double figures all day long.
The 26-year-old told MCN: “Today was a big day for us, just in terms of getting through it without incident as we effectively learned the track.
“The bike is feeling very good, and the wet session this morning was good to give us some data for wet conditions – it is the first wet practice session for two years in WSB.
Toseland ended the day a strong fourth with Donington experts Troy Bayliss and Troy Corser setting the early pace, and Ruben Xaus posting a surprise third fastest time on his ex-works Ducati 999.
“The track is very different to how I last remember it from racing in Britain. The new surface is like a billiard table, so all the bumps I was expecting weren’t there.
“We know that the temperatures tomorrow and Sunday are going to be warmer, so today was really about getting dialled in and making sure nothing went wrong, so from that standpoint being fourth quickest already is pretty good.”
Toseland started the qualifying session with cut slicks as tyre temperatures were logged by some teams as being as low as 30 degrees centigrade.
But after a dry line appeared fairly quickly, he moved to slicks but retained wet weather suspension and mapping settings.
After the pace quickened, the bike was eventually moved through to ‘proper’ dry settings, upon which he set his best lap time of 1:33.69.