Newly crowned World Superbike champion James Toseland paid homage to the friends he has made during his seven years in the championship.
The British rider secured the title for the second time in his career in the last race of the season at Magny Cours and his last in World Superbikes ahead of his departure to MotoGP's Tech 3 Yamaha next season.
Toseland had been leading the championship since the beginning of the season but failed to secure the title at the earliest opportunity at Vallelunga last weekend. This meant a nervous weekend in France with Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga closing to within 17 points after race one.
And an emotional Hannspree Ten Kate Honda rider said afterwards: “It’s about time someone said it (2007 world champion) to me. I have been in the lead from the first race and what an incredible championship with (Noriyuki) Haga, (Max) Biaggi, (Troy) Bayliss, (Troy) Corser and with (Fonsi) Nieto coming strong at the end.
It’s been the best championship I have ever ridden in. This is my seventh year in World Superbikes and to have pole position and to win the championship in my final race before I go to MotoGP it just deserves to say thank you to everybody in the championship who has been involved. I have got many, many friends here in the paddock.”
Toseland had 35 friends and family at the circuit to help him celebrate, including his mum, who he threw his flowers to from the podium after the race.
And the 27-year-old, who celebrated his birthday just last Friday, said: “This is what I live for, this is the only thing that matters to me to get this trophy. My one at home was feeling a bit lonely so I thought I had better get him a mate to go at the side of him.
“Thank you everybody for their support in Britain and to everyone around the world
“I can go a happy man to MotoGP now but this is what I wanted to say thank you to everyone in world superbike for helping me.”
Yamaha’s Noriyuki Haga’s doble race victory at Magny Cours saw him finish up as 2007 championship runner-up has vowed to come back even stronger for 2008.
Haga said: “A little bit easier because we changed a bit of the suspension settings for the second race and we also changed the front tyre for a bit harder one.
“I couldn’t bear the braking and I was pushing so hard. I couldn’t complain because I try to do my best to win twice. I will try next year for the championship title.”
Fancy commemorating Toseland's historic win in his last season in World Superbikes? There's a range of Toseland memorabilia, including signed items, at Grand Prix Legends. Click here to have a look.