After tense finale in France
Long-term championship leader James Toseland (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) had to wait until the final race of the 2007 season to secure the title in a championship class he has led since the very first race meeting of the year - and after
a dramatic first corner incident in race one put him off track.
He restarted absolutely last but made it back through the field to secure seventh in the opener, and in finishing a very safe and secure sixth in race two, he beat Magny Cours double race winner Noriyuki Haga to the title by only two points.
The final championship positions in SBK read Toseland 415 points (and 8 wins), Haga 413 (6 wins), Max Biaggi 397 (3 wins) and Troy Bayliss 372 (7 wins).
This is Honda's first win in the Riders' Championship since Colin Edwards scored the season victory on a Honda VTR1000SP in 2002, and the sixth Honda victory in the Riders' Championship since the championship's inception in 1988. In the Manufacturers' Championship, Honda is joint second, on 439 points. Toseland was understandably as relieved as he was happy to secure his second championship, having enjoyed such an expansive championship lead at one time, only to see bad luck and small errors punished harshly in the last few races.
"It's about time!", said Toseland from the same venue he wrapped up his first world title at in 2004. "I have led the championship from Qatar and what an incredible championship it has been. I think this has been the best World Supervise season I have ever experienced and I have been riding in the series for seven years now. The standard of riding has been incredible and I have enjoyed battling with all of them - Bayliss, Corser, Biaggi, Haga - the list goes on. I have been pushed to the absolute limit and to win the championship by just two points is unbelievable."
Toseland was also happy to show that his fighting spirit has been unbowed by his recent misfortunes, and he went all out in Superpole to show he was the fastest rider on track, and unafraid to take risks.
"To get pole position and the title at my last Superbike round is great", said Toseland who set a new track best in Superpole of 1'38.501. "This is what I live for, it's what really matters to me and I wanted it so much. This is my way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported me through my Superbike career. I can leave for MotoGP with my head held high and the knowledge that I gave this championship my all until the very last race."
Hannspree Ten Kate Racing Team Owner Gerrit Ten Kate was understandably emotional about his team winning both Supersport and Superbike championships in 2007, and praised all involved.
"I am of course very proud of all my guys, without my team I cannot do anything", said Ten Kate, who earlier in the year watched Kenan Sofuoglu win Honda and Ten Kate their sixth consecutive championships. "It shows again that a private team, with good support from a manufacturer, can win. You do not always need to have full factory support behind you. Of course we have good support from Honda and we are very grateful for it. I never thought that when we started in Thunderbike and Supersport racing all those years ago we would win two championships in one season. We are simple guys, with our feet on the ground. We tried our best, we will celebrate tonight, but then we will be focused on next year. Next year we will still be strong."
Honda Motor Sport