TOSELAND STATES MOTOGP INTENTIONS

Ten Kate Honda rider James Toseland says he wants to be racing in MotoGP next year as World Superbikes champion.

Toseland won the WSB title in 2004 and goes into this weekend’s European Grand Prix at Donington as 2007 championship leader after the first two rounds.

“To be in MotoGP next season is my goal, but first I want to be world champion again,” he told BBC Sport.

“If I win the championship, hopefully Honda will give me an opportunity on a decent package in MotoGP.”

Toseland, 26, was offered a MotoGP ride with Ducati this season but chose to stay in WSB, having finished runner-up to Troy Bayliss in last season’s championship.

“Ducati offered me a place on their satellite team but I found my loyalty being with Honda because they really saved my career after the end of 2005 in WSB, so I stayed with them.”

And that loyalty has paid off so far this season, as the promise Toseland showed last year has been fulfilled in this year’s opening rounds.

“In the last quarter of the season, we were averaging more points than Troy, so I knew things were getting better,” he said.

“Finishing runner-up and ending the season so well meant that I knew with a few modifications and increased testing, we’d be there or thereabouts – so far, so good.”

 

 

This weekend’s race will be the first WSB event at Donington for six years, and with Brands Hatch and Silverstone also hosting races, it means three rounds of the championship on home soil for Toseland.

“That really will help,” he said.

“This is probably the most popular country for the sport as far as spectators go. I’m the only Briton at the front so there’s pressure, but I feel we’ve got a package which can be competitive everywhere.

“It will be the icing on the cake if I can do well at Donington, Silverstone and Brands.”

Many MotoGP riders have proved themselves in WSB before taking the step up, so it was a real coup for WSB when champion Bayliss was offered a one-off MotoGP ride in the final race at Valencia last season – and won it.

“That really evened things up as far as rider ability goes,” he said.

 

“All of a sudden MotoGP teams have got a better look at what level we’re at, so WSB is on the up and up and is in a strong position.

“MotoGP is still the pinnacle, and it’s where I hope to be next year, but I’m in no rush as being in WSB is doing me no harm as far as developing goes.”

No British rider has won a top-class race since Barry Sheene in 1981, and having seen the likes of Neil Hodgson and Shane Byrne try and fail in MotoGP, Toseland is keen to avoid repeating their mistakes.

“They’ve not had age on their side, so when the chance has come along they’ve had to jump at it whatever it is,” he said.

“It hasn’t gone their way, and they’ve found themselves in trouble after a bad year in MotoGP.

“But I have got age on my side so I can hang on a bit – it’s all about timing.

“When I do hopefully make the decision to go, it’ll be the right team, right bike and we can be competitive, because without all three, it’s not possible.

“It’s about time someone was successful as Barry Sheene.”

 

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