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James Toseland ready for the final push
After moving up to second position in the championship
James Toseland (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) approaches the Eurospeedway Lausitz race with only one goal in mind, clawing back as many points of Troy Bayliss' championship lead as possible, so he can keep his hopes
of overhauling him in the final two rounds alive, and thus put some distance between himself and those riders behind him in the championship fight.

Having promoted himself to overall second after an often-challenging pair of Assen races last week, he will be out to keep Noriyuki Haga at arm's length in both Lausitz races, to protect his slender two-point advantage in the championship table while hunting the championship leader. Bayliss is currently on 332 points, with Toseland on 232 and Haga on 230.

Alex Barros (Klaffi Honda CBR1000RR) is in the novel position of having actually tested at a 2006 season circuit before first practice begins on Friday, having attended a test at Lausitz earlier in the summer. As talented as they come, Barros is hoping that his usually strong pre-race form will be translated into results at Lausitz, after qualifying fifth in Superpole at Assen, yet having only a retirement and a seventh to show for his weekend's work. He is now sixth overall.

Michel Fabrizio (DFX Honda CBR1000RR) has been showing the rest of the SBK rookies how to do it this year, having scored three podiums in the last six races, two at Brno and one in the wet at Assen last week. Currently just outside the top ten, he could realistically move up at least two places after the Lausitz weekend, with only six points separating him from Lorenzo Lanzi, in ninth.

Karl Muggeridge (Winston Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR) is once more attempting to marry his often fully competitive pre-race lap speeds to strong race results, as he goes for his first podium finish of his SBK career. 15th overall is his current championship placing.

Pierfrancesco Chili (DFX Honda CBR1000RR) has struggled in the last few races, and is thus just outside the top 20. His pride and determination to sign off the season on the highest possible note augur well for two penetrating rides in Germany, before he heads back to Imola for another home round in October.

With Bayliss 100 points ahead and only an absolute maximum of 150 points to be gathered by any one single rider before the season finishes, Toseland is realistic about the arithmetic involved in his ultimate championship challenge. But his irrepressible racer's spirit means he's always out to win in any case.

"The only positive thing I can say about the outcome of Assen is that I moved up to second position in the championship," said Toseland. "The main thing to concentrate on at Lausitz will maybe have to be consolidation of my second place in the championship, because Troy is possibly just too far away to catch now. I will keep trying though, and I'll never give up the chase until it's over."

Barros knows that he is at less of a disadvantage at Lausitz than he might be at many other SBK tracks he has never competed at before, simply because of an encouraging mid- season test session.

"The next race is at Lausitz," said Barros, "and I hope it goes as well for me as it did the last time I was there. I hope I can be as competitive as I was at the tests earlier in the season."

Fabrizio's most fervent wish is for consistent weather conditions throughout the weekend as his podium excellence in race one at Assen was followed by a tenth place, partly because of gearbox issues but also machine set-up variables.

"To finish on the podium in the wet race one was fantastic for us at Assen," said Fabrizio, "but in Lausitz I hope to find better conditions in order to practice and race without everything being dependant on the changing weather. Lausitz isn't my favourite circuit but I hope to finish in the top five."

Muggeridge acknowledges that his 2006 season has not worked out as he desired so far, but points to recent testing as a reason why Lausitz may help to turn things around.

"For whatever reason our races haven't turned out as planned this year," said Muggeridge, "but we have tested at Lausitz this year, which should help us out. For the three days of the test I spent most of my time working on the traction control aspects of the bike, so there may still be some work to do to find a real race setting. But I'm familiar with the place, so it should be OK."

After several consecutive weekends of unforeseen problems, which have held back his search for points, Chili is out for two solid finishes at Lausitz. "Assen was an ugly day," said Chili, "and one which I hope to forget quite quickly. In Lausitz we will feel the absence of traction control but the team will work hard to resolve this problem. I won't be in Germany without a desire to race."

The final two World Supersport and Superbike rounds will take place in early October, at Imola on October 1 and Magny-Cours on October 8.
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