WSBK Race ReportStepping down in class or rank is never easy especially in the prime of your career. And it is no different in professional motorcycle racing. For James Toseland, he was finally able to save some face in his return to World Superbike with his first podium of the year in Valencia.
Granted this is just his fifth outing with the Yamaha Sterilgarda team but he is on the bike that Ben Spies used to capture the World Championship in his rookie season just last year. As well his rookie teammate Cal Crutchlow, stepping-up from 600cc, took home the Superpole honors over the weekend on the same package. Toseland, the former two-time champion put in a solid performance in race one on his R1 to take third place after starting from ninth on the grid. He made short work of the field to take second by the ninth lap. He was then hotly pursued by Aprilia rider Max Biaggi for the entire race duration and fought off a number of attacks, holding on to second until just two laps from the end. Toseland finished the race in third, claiming his well deserved first podium of the year, just 3.6 seconds off the race leader. He crossed the line in seventh in race two having challenged for several positions, and moves up from 11th to sixth in the table.James Toseland says: "Race one was great, it’s always nice when the team work so hard to be able to repay them with a result," declared Toseland. "I was probably the widest man out there because I certainly wasn’t the quickest after half race distance, I was finding a few things a bit difficult with the bike. It was great though to dig deep and get a podium, my first podium this year and my first since Brands 2007 I think. It’s been a while since I took a trophy home so I was very happy. He continues: The team is working unbelievably hard, we’ve got some issues but we’re making up a lot of ground in a short space of time. In the second race I got an average start when the clutch grabbed early on the line. I don’t know where the front guys got their pace from on the re-start, mid 34’s was a second faster than it was in the first race. Assen is next which is fast and flowing, which will suit the bike better. We need to keep improving until we’re strong at every track."Toseland sits sixth in the points races with 50 behind Rea, Haga, Checa, Biaggi and the leader HaslamChampionship standing (after 3 Rounds of 13): 1. Haslam 123; 2. Biaggi 105; 3. Checa 80; 4. Haga 79; 5. Rea 60; 6. Toseland 50; 7. Guintoli 50; 8. Fabrizio 46; 9. Corser 46; 10. Crutchlow 41Manufacturers standing: 1. Suzuki 123; 2. Ducati 107; 3. Aprilia 105; 4. Honda 61; 5. Yamaha 57; 6. BMW 47; 7. Kawasaki 13