“I wish I was testing at the moment!”
Although there is nothing that he would like more than to be back on the Yamaha M1 over December getting to grips with 800cc riding, new Tech 3 rider James Toseland will, like the rest of the expectant MotoGP grid, have to wait until
January and the lifting of the testing embargo to have another crack at his 2008 preparations.
Speaking from his home in Sheffield, where he will spend the festive season with his family, Toseland explained his plans for the short break between seasons.
“I wish I was testing at the moment, to be honest!”, he exclaimed. “This break will mostly be spent doing a few promotional things and getting ready for the start of the season. Recently I was at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award, which was a huge honour for me to finish fourth with over 85 thousand votes, and I got to play the piano there as well which was great. Now I'm just eager to get back riding in January.”
Whilst fellow rookies Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Alex de Angelis will be honing their physical condition for the 800cc machines more powerful than the two- strokes to which they have become accustomed, Toseland already has such strength from years riding a superbike. However, he was quick to point out that their backgrounds were perhaps more favourable than his own.
“I think that I have something of an advantage in terms of strength, having already ridden a big bike, but also the 250cc guys have more positive factors going for them just because of the experience of following the MotoGP paddock around and learning the lines; also, from what I gather, the 800cc bikes and lines are more similar to a 250cc machine”, he noted.
“They also know all the tracks for next year, whereas I have been riding at places which are new for me. We've put in some good times so far, which is a positive sign.
Despite the task of learning tracks as well as new machinery, Tech 3 will not be sending Toseland away for any tests on unfamiliar tracks in January, preferring to keep him with the rest of the MotoGP field.
“We won't be doing any private testing; the schedule is already confirmed and we'll be testing with everybody else. We start in Sepang, then Phillip Island, then on to Qatar”, noted the 27 year-old, who is seen as Britain's best hope in the World Championship since their last title holder, a certain Barry Sheene.“I don't think that British riders have had the packages in the past, which is something that means I am especially honoured to have the deal that I have; a factory Yamaha on the best Michelins available is top quality, so it's just great to have something on which to be competitive.”
“Britain hasn't had success on the world stage since Barry Sheene, which will be 30 years ago next year, so it's been a long time coming for a British success. I'll be trying my best to give them something to cheer about after so long without a champion”, assured the twice superbike titlist.
DORNA / CAPSIS International