Toseland: “I want the WSB title back”

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The story so far
Since joining the French Tech 3 Yamaha satellite squad at the end of 2007, Toseland has enjoyed a mixture of success and disappointment, but ultimately hasn’t done enough to keep his ride in the fiercely competitive class.

Following months of speculation, it was confirmed last week that Toseland will trade places with American sensation Ben Spies and join fellow Brit Cal Crutchlow in an all British factory Yamaha World Superbike dream team.

Having won two WSB crowns in 2004 and 2007, Toseland knows the series inside out, but with the championship reaching new height in terms of technology, teams and rider line-up, winning again will be a mammoth challenge.

On Pramac, Foggy and Edwards
James Toseland has broken his silence about his move from MotoGP to World Superbikes.

In an exclusive interview with MCN, the British star talked about his reasons for not joining the Pramac Ducati MotoGP team, his determination to win more WSB crowns than Carl Fogarty, and how Ben Spies and Colin Edwards deserve their rides in MotoGP.

Speaking to MCN at the Estoril MotoGP last weekend Toseland said: “There’s obviously been a lot of speculation over the last few months and it’s not been an easy time.

“There wasn’t really any opportunity to stay in MotoGP even with another manufacturer.

“The only other team was Pramac Ducati, but there was so many riders going for it who had personal sponsors behind them which would have made it very difficult.

“Yamaha have given me the opportunity to succeed at Tech3 and I’m not sure that it would have been a move in a forward direction to go and ride for Pramac.”

Despite the lack of success in MotoGP, Yamaha remain committed to Toseland due to his undisputed pace and success on a Superbike, making him the number one choice to replace Spies.

‘Offered good deal’
Toseland said: “Yamaha didn’t want to lose me and they offered me a really good deal to stay in the family to race in WSB.

“All I’ve done in my career is give my best shot at everything I’ve done. Now I know that I’m going back to WSB I want to start where I left off in 2007.

“I certainly miss the winning and I’m looking forward to that prospect. Carl Fogarty won four world championships and that’s my new challenge to beat his record – it’s a big motivation for me.”

When Toseland left WSB at the end of 2007 he was brimming with confidence and it was that confidence that put him in the MotoGP spotlight when he qualified second for his first ever race at Qatar.

Now two years on with a best finish of sixth Toseland accepts that his confidence may be down, but maintains he’s become a better rider.
‘I’m a better rider’
“Obviously the confidence level now compared to when I was winning races is down a bit, but I know that I am still riding very well and better than I did in 2007.

“Riding in MotoGP you have to be a better rider to push these bikes to the limit and that has improved me.

“One race in WSB where I get on the podium and that confidence will come straight back.

“I’ve won the title twice and challenged at the front for another four years. I plan to take everything I’ve learned riding wise in GPs back to WSB and that should stand me in good stead.

“Like anything I do I’m going out to win, just like any other rider on the grid.”

‘Ben and Colin deserve the rides’
Despite the obvious disappointment, Toseland accepts that his ride in the Tech 3 Yamaha squad was untenable given team-mate Colin Edwards stunning pace during and 2009 and Ben Spies’ unprecedented rookie WSB campaign.

Toseland said: “At the end of the day Ben does deserve a crack at MotoGP, it’s just unfortunate that there is only one satellite Yamaha team in the series. He had to replace either myself or Colin and it has obviously been me.

“With the way Colin has ridden this year he deserves to keep his ride because he’s ridden great, but I don’t think it’s the ideal situation having two Americans in the team for commercial reasons.”

“Now I’ve got three races left in MotoGP and I’m only eight points off eighth and there’s a good possibility of a strong finish even in a tough season like this. If I can achieve that then I can walk out of here with my head held high.”