Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Could Toseland return to MotoGP?

After Valentino Rossi's compound fracture at Misano, Fiat Yamaha are left with a space in their factory team for possibly the rest of the season.

Initial thoughts seemed to be to draft Ben Spies into the full team from Tech 3, which would have given him experience on the factory bike before a possible move in 2011. It is now looking less likely, as some news stories indicate he is contracted to Tech 3 for this season, not Yamaha. I had assumed he was contracted to Yamaha.

If Spies does go to Fiat Yamaha (assuming the contract is okay), it leaves a spot in Tech 3. James Toseland is currently riding in WSBK, and hasn't done terribly. A couple of good results, but he isn't challenging for the title either. He has GP experience and knows the team and tracks from his previous two years in the Tech 3 team.

Also, the Silverstone GP is coming up. It would make perfect commercial sense for Yamaha and Dorna to have a British rider at the British GP to try and claw back some ticket sales now the marquee Rossi is out. Plus, there is no WSBK race that weekend and Toselands band are playing a gig there, so even for just one race it might be a good fit.

Cal Crutchlow is also being mentioned as a possible replacement, and he is Toselands teams mate in the Sterilgarda Yamaha team in WSBK. He has raw pace, but is yet to fully utilise the superbike, let alone a fully fledged MotoGP M1. It might damage his MotoGP credentials to join them too soon.

It will be interesting to see who replaces Rossi, and if they get a full season to show what they are capable of. It could be Toseland's last chance to shine in the MotoGP paddock, in a season where the star attraction has now gone, and the pressure of trying to secure his future is not important.

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