James Toseland is an Englishman at the topmost level of racing in the world. He comes into a MotoGP as the reigning 2007 World Superbike Champion. Toseland has a side-career option as well in the form of a musician. He plays the piano rather well and is known to be a good singer. When not at his home on the Isle of Man, Toseland is usually out performing with his band - Crash.

Toseland started riding motocross bikes at the age of 8, right when he started his piano lessons. His tracks were the coal-slag heaps lying near his home in Doncaster. He was accompanied by his step-father to various junior trials and motocross events across the length and breadth of the country. His torrid childhood saw him leave the traveling life to stay close to his mother as her relationship with his step-father broke down. His step-father committed suicide and Toseland, who had broken all ties with the man, continued his piano lessons till the Grade-6 level. This was, however, not enough to get him into the prestigious London School of Music.

Born 5 Oct 1980
Nationality England England

He decided to give his motorcycling career a try after the death of his step-father and shifted from off-road to road racing. He slowly worked his way up the ladder till he became the 1995 junior Road Race Champion. He saw this as an opportunity to move onto the 125cc racing category in the UK Superteen series. Towards the late nineties, his domination at the Honda CB500 cup series, at the age of 17, saw him become a known face on the racing circuit. Supersport Honda picked up the young James to race at national level events and he didn’t disappoint, winning many races.

In 1998, his performance in the series prompted Castrol Honda World Supersport to pull him into the squad. His 1998 season ended with an 18th place finish but in 1999, he finished eleventh with a best place finish of sixth.

In 2000, he came to the British Superbikes Championships with Paul Bird’s team. He rode a Honda VTR and in just seven rounds, picked up 101 points. Injury prevented him from contesting in 4 rounds and he ended the season in 12th place. In 2001, a 20 year old Toseland made his first foray into the World Superbike Championships with the GSE team. He partnered Neil Hodgson, a man whom he could never really compete against. His lack of top 5 finishes, throughout the British version of the series, had always been a doubt on his credentials but by the end of 2002, his second year, he was challenging for the top spots and finished at 7th on the season-end standings. In 2003, the team got better and so did Toseland. He won his first race on the way to a third place in the championships.

In 2004, Toseland joined the Ducati factory team to ride the 999 F04 bike. The bike was prolific and it allowed Toseland to match his much experienced team mate, Regis Laconi. Towards the end of the season, Toseland began to out-race his teammate and took the title with a nine-point margin. He amassed an incredible 336 points which had 3 wins amongst his 14 podium finishes.

He was forced to struggle in 2005 as the team failed to support him enough to counter the Suzuki and Yamaha outfits, which returned to the sport. Ducati’s domination of the series had ended and Troy Corser, on a Suzuki, won the championship with Toseland coming in at 5th.

He decided to switch teams to go to the Winston Ten Kate Racing Honda racing team. He replaced Chris Vermeulen, who was on his way to MotoGP, and had Karl Muggeridge as his wingman. Toseland put in another strong season finishing second behind Troy Bayliss. In 2006 itself, he got his first chance to ride in the MotoGP when he was asked to replace the injured Toni Elias, at Honda. But unfortunately for him, sponsor issues led to this opportunity passing him by.

Toseland did receive another MotoGP offer in the form of D’antin, a satellite team for Ducati but the team had not been performing well and Toseland decided to stick to another year in the Superbike series.

He stayed with his team for 2007 and really pulled out all stops in the season. He won the season ahead of Noriyuki Haga, by just two points to become the World Superbike Champion. Toseland had the honour of being nominated for the Sports Personality of the Year - 2007. He came fourth in the BBC run award. He played the piano at the ceremony and performed a specially written blues/jazz piece for the occasion. As a consolation, he did get the 2007 BBC Yorkshire Sports personality of the Year.

Toseland announced, in August 2007, that he would be moving to MotoGP with the Tech 3 Yamaha team for the 2008 season. Alongside Colin Edwards, Toseland will be looking to repeat his Superbike feat in his first season at MotoGP. James has been accused of being an aggressive rider and many, including world champion, Casey Stoner, have been rather vociferous in their displeasure of his riding style. James has chosen to react to this rather calmly saying that he is a “hard but fair” rider and that to overtake his opponents when he has the chance, is what he is paid for.

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