Toseland maintains advantage in eventful home round

HANNspree Ten Kate Honda’s James Toseland maintained his Superbike World Championship lead by the narrowest of margins at Donington Park today. The Yorkshireman suffered mixed fortunes in the two 23-lap races at the 4.02km track in front of a home crowd of 51,000 spectators.

Toseland extended his championship advantage to 25 points after securing victory in race one. He quickly moved into second position on track during the opening lap and set about hunting down rival Troy Bayliss. The HANNspree Ten Kate Honda rider took the lead – after the Australian crashed out on lap five at Coppice – and maintained station with consistent laps to pass the chequered flag first.

A strong performance from team-mate Roberto Rolfo saw the Italian move from 16th on the grid to a ninth place finish – securing further valuable points and demonstrating his increasing potential in the ultra-competitive championship.

Race two was a different matter with Bayliss out of contention as a result of his injuries. The Australian was taken to Derby Royal Infirmary for plastic surgery to his right hand after he lost a finger, which became trapped underneath the bike during his accident. HANNspree Ten Kate Honda’s Toseland started the race as the firm favourite for victory.



The 26-year-old moved into the lead on the opening lap and set about opening up a gap over Noriyuki Haga and Troy Corser. However, misfortune struck on lap three when a mechanical problem caused the CBR1000RR to stop on the entrance to Redgate – ending Toseland’s race prematurely.

A three-way dice for the lead ensued between Haga, Corser and Max Biaggi. It was Haga who emerged triumphant from a thrilling manoeuvre at the last corner on the final lap. The Japanese rider’s move past Biaggi ensured that HANNspree Ten Kate Honda’s Toseland remained ahead of his Italian rival in the standings by five points. Team-mate Rolfo once again enjoyed an improvement in performance equalling his highest finish to date – moving from 15th on the grid to seventh at the chequered flag and ninth position overall.

Ronald ten Kate, Team Manager:

“Everything was going so well that we were almost waiting for something to go wrong and that’s exactly what happened. We had a perfect race one win from James and a perfect Supersport win from Kenan. We were hoping for another win from James and he was looking in great form. However, coming onto the main straight, the quickshift started to cut the ignition continuously, causing the bike to stop when closing the throttle for the first corner. We are checking the data from the sensors inside and around the engine now to try to discover the cause of the problem. On a positive note, we know that James is in great form and that the bike is capable of winning races, so we will come back in fighting form for the next round and Roby had two great races.”

James Toseland:

“To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. That double win has eluded me once again. I felt really confident about winning the second race, but unfortunately as I was shifting up the gear on the start/finish straight I felt a problem with the engine, which caused the bike to stop when I shut the throttle for the first corner. I don’t know what the problem was but it meant that I was unable to continue. This is as disappointing for the fans as it is for me and I’m sorry that I was unable to give them a better result.”

Roberto Rolfo:

“Race two was good – I enjoyed it very much. Race one was more difficult as I found it hard to find a good rhythm at the beginning because of some riders in front of me. It was not so easy for me to concentrate. In race two, I had a very good start and tried to push hard from the first to the last lap. I must say that I am happy because I improved my feeling on the bike. It wasn’t easy to start from the back but I think next time if I start from further up I can achieve a top five place. ”



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