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James Toseland profile

By Dan Moakes
November 9 2005

James Toseland
nationality · English
born · 5 October 1980
world supersport début · 1998
world superbike début · 2001
grand prix début · 2008

James Toseland was a virtual unknown when first picked to ride a GSE Ducati in World Superbikes, but he has moved forward at every step from that point onwards. At 22 years-of-age he had proved that he could match the best, and win races against them, and all before he even sat on the best bike. Now twenty-seven, James is just the third Englishman to win the World Superbike title, and only the second man to win it on two different makes of bike. With that achievement, he earned the move into MotoGP, where he has already made a good impression

Started a five year spell in trials riding, winning youth championships in South East, North West and East Midlands regions; also competed in motocross, retiring mid way through 1993

6th in Inter 100cc Youth series; best newcomer award

Road racing début on a 125cc Yamaha

Junior Road Race Champion

11th in Superteen championship

British Honda CB500 Cup Champion; 3rd in British Supersport 600 championship, with a Honda; also won a national Supersport race at Snetterton

18th= in World Supersport championship, with Castrol Honda; best result of eighth

11th in World Supersport championship, with Castrol Honda; scored in nine of eleven rounds, with a best of sixth place in round one

2000 Demon Vimto Honda, number 52 Honda
2000 was James’ first year in the British Superbike series, riding a Honda VTR1000 SP-1. He contested the first seven rounds, missing four more through injury, and over the course of these picked up 101 points. Altogether, this placed him twelfth in the final table, not far behind riders who had done the entire championship. James’ results included seven in the top eight, with sixth place in two separate Oulton Park meetings, both times behind Steve Hislop

2001 GSE Racing, number 52 Ducati
Toseland’s potential had been enough to attract the interest of Darrell Healey of GSE, who were taking lead rider Neil Hodgson into the World Championship with the Ducati 996 RS/00. They opted for Toseland as a back-up man, and the youngster didn’t disappoint. Although Hodgson converted his British title winning form into several podiums, the inexperienced James did well to get into the top ten on a handful of occasions. These included a seventh in the United States and a sixth at Brands Hatch, and he finished the series thirteenth, with 91 points

2002 HM Plant Ducati, number 52 Ducati
In 2002, the GSE team’s 998 F01 machines were entered under the HM Plant banner, in deference to their new prinicipal sponsor. Hodgson continued as the number one, piloting his way to third overall, behind the dominant duo of Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss. Under Colin Wright’s guidance, James improved his racecraft and became a regular top six finisher on the Dunlop-shod bikes, taking a fifth in Italy, and ending the season on the podium in the Netherlands. His upward progress was confirmed by notching up seventh in the final standings, with 195 points, ahead of the experienced Frankie Chili

2003 HM Plant Ducati, number 52 Ducati
In the absence of factory-supported entries from the usual Japanese manufacturers, 2003 saw the HM Plant team become effectively the second strongest in WSB. Paired with the more experienced Chris Walker, Toseland was soon looking the stronger of the two, perhaps helped by being part of the same team for a third straight year. With their 998RS F02 bikes still running on Dunlops, as opposed to the better regarded Michelins of the works team, the two riders were top six regulars. Toseland’s eight finishes of fifth or better, culminating in his first win at Oschersleben, actually took him ahead of Rubén Xaus on the factory 999, before a late burst from the Spaniard. 271 points gave him third overall, and he also achieved his first pole position

James Toseland - photo by Raceline photography
James Toseland in 2004 - photo by Raceline photography

2004 Ducati Fila, number 52 Ducati
With Hodgson and Xaus moving to MotoGP, Toseland joined Régis Laconi as a full works Ducati rider, racing the dominant 999 F04 motorcycle. Laconi looked stronger for outright pace, but James put together a consistent series to stay with him all the way, and ahead at several stages. The final races at Magny-Cours saw the youngster out-ride his experienced team-mate, giving Toseland the title by a nine point margin. A final tally of 336 included three wins and eleven other podium results

2005 Ducati Xerox, number 1 Ducati
Toseland’s title defence was not especially easy, with the Alstare Suzuki team now setting the pace. It was round four before James got on the podium, and he didn’t win until race ten. But that was a home victory at Silverstone, after third in race one, and it led to a more competitive period with the Ducati 999 F05. His qualifying pace was good in the season’s second half, and there were four more podium results. 254 points meant fourth place overall

2006 Winston Ten Kate Honda, number 52 Honda
Ducati went for an all-new pairing in 2006, with James therefore taking over on a Honda CBR1000RR after Chris Vermeulen swapped to MotoGP. A winning start made him into a title challenger, but a couple of poor rounds saw him lose touch with Troy Bayliss and Troy Corser. But he then went on to add to his podium tally, take pole in round six, and a couple of late wins meant he overtook Corser and Noriyuki Haga to finish runner-up to Bayliss, with 336 points

James Toseland 2007 - photo by Raceline Photography
James Toseland © Raceline Photography

2007 Hannspree Ten Kate Honda, number 52 Honda
There was a stronger start for James in 2007, with five wins and four seconds from twelve races, but not without a useful challenge from both Haga (Yamaha) and Max Biaggi (Suzuki). James was up to eight wins when the Japanese rider started to come back at him. A few lesser results made it close, but despite a double in the last round from Haga, James scored enough to win his second title by two points, 415 to 413

2008 Tech 3 Yamaha, number 52 Yamaha
James gets his first chance in MotoGP on the semi-works 800cc Yamaha M1 with a Michelin tyre deal

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