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Toseland looks back over season so far

Toseland looks back over season so far

Reflecting on his MotoGP experience to date, returning to the track where he first tested the Yamaha M1 last November, James Toseland hopes he can round off his debut season in style.

Having made far more friends than enemies during his first season in MotoGP, James Toseland is happy with the job he has done so far in 2008 – but is keen to get two strong results in the remaining pair of races to round off his first year with the Tech3 Yamaha team.

Toseland this weekend returns to the track where he first tested for Herve Poncharal´s satellite Yamaha outfit last November and ahead of Sunday´s seventeenth race of the season in Malaysia the Englishman is still hopeful of beating his best result of sixth place, achieved on six occasions, as he faces the concluding rounds at Sepang and Valencia.

Eleventh in the standings and with 100 points to his name, the Phillip Island race less than two weeks ago was Toseland´s best performance of the season, as he diced with Valentino Rossi and missed out on the top five and perhaps even a podium shout as his tyres deteriorated late in the race.

`It has been a while for me since I got excited before a race and think that there is a podium possible. It was nice to be in Phillip Island which I know well and that does help a lot with the experience of the circuit,´ Toseland said. `I only equalled my best result with sixth but it was certainly my best race of the year and it was nice to be up there.´

There have been low points this year too for Toseland of course. In a season in which the tough Englishman has had eight new tracks to learn his worst moment came at a circuit he knows well, when he qualified sixteenth for his home race at Donington and crashed on the first lap, bravely remounting - minus a footpeg - to ride to a heartbreaking seventeenth place finish.

Summarising his 2008 campaign, Toseland commented, `At the beginning of the season we were at tracks that I was used to and had experience at. Through the middle of the season there have been these eight new circuits and the weather conditions have been difficult. But it has been a really good learning year. I had a lot to learn in MotoGP and it has been tough but I have really enjoyed the challenge. It has set us up really well for next season and I hope to finish the season on a high and race again like I did in Phillip Island.´

At times during races Toseland´s riding has been criticised as too aggressive, but his affable off-track demeanour and his hard work ethic on-track have made him popular in the MotoGP paddock and having celebrated his 28th birthday on race day in Australia hopes to continue in Grand Prix racing for many years to come.

On his all-round experience of MotoGP this year he added, `I didn´t know what to expect because all my life has been in superbike and supersport. I went around with that circus for a long time and I didn´t have any experience of riding with anybody here really, other than Chris Vermeulen. It was like my first day at school when I first came here, but we have made a few friends and lost a few too! But overall it has been an enjoyable year and hopefully it can be a long career in MotoGP.´

MotoGP, 2008, POLINI MALAYSIAN MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX, James Toseland, Tech 3 Yamaha

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