Tech 3 Yamaha secures Briton for 2008 MotoGP season.
As had been widely rumoured for a while, James Toseland is to make the move from World Superbikes to MotoGP for the 2008 season after being confirmed as part of the Tech 3 Yamaha line-up for next year.
Toseland had been widely linked to a ride on a Honda should he elect to make the switch due to his current ties with the Japanese marque, with the 26-year-old having ridden a CBR1000RR for the Ten Kate Honda team since the start of 2006 – ironically, when he replaced a MotoGP-bound rider in Chris Vermeulen.
Speculation also suggested that Toseland could partner Vermeulen in the Rizla Suzuki line-up next year with John Hopkins moving on to Kawasaki, but has instead committed himself to the factory supported Tech 3 squad, which is running bikes for Makoto Tamada and Sylvain Guintoli this season.
I am delighted to have secured a rider of James' calibre and am looking forward to working with him,” team principal Herve Poncharal said. “Procuring James is a major coup for Tech 3 Yamaha and for the MotoGP championship in extending our reach into Northern Europe. It is an exciting time for us all and I am certain that he will be an integral part of the team's future.”
Toseland did come close to make the move to MotoGP for the 2007 season, with a contract offer ‘on the table' from the satellite d'Antin Ducati team. However, despite admitting at the time that the offer was tempting, Toseland elected to remain with Ten Kate for a second season with problems within the d'Antin squad making any possible ride with the team something of a risk.
The decision to remain in World Superbike has been more than vindicated this season as the Briton has surged to the top of the championship standings. However, having already been warned by double WSBK champion Colin Edwards not to wait too long before crossing over to MotoGP, Toseland has decided that the time is right to make the switch.
Prior to taking up his new ride however, there is the small matter of a second World Superbike crown to be won, with Toseland hoping to take another step towards the crown at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Having picked up six wins and eleven podiums from the 17 races he has competed in so far, Toseland currently has a 43 point lead over second placed Max Biaggi.