James Toseland announced his immediate retirement from racing today, citing irreprable damage to his wrist after an early 2011 testing injury at Aragon. The two-time World Superbike champion had been riding for BMW Motorrad Italia in the 2011 season, but had sat out a number of races after an intricate and difficult injury left him with pins and a reduced range of motion in his right wrist. Toseland competed in MotoGP in 2008 and 2009, never finishing on the podium or winning pole.
On his Facebook page, Toseland wrote, “Difficult day today. Another visit to the Consultant about my wrist has brought bad news. It’s with sadness that I tell you I’ve been forced to retire from racing and I wanted you to be the first to know.” He continued, “I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a successful career in racing and one of the highlights has been the support from all of you. Thank you, I am truly grateful.”
Toseland added in a letter to his fans on his personal website, “The easiest way to explain it is that I don’t have enough range of movement in my wrist to race professionally and no amount of physiotherapy is going to improve that. This all led to the verdict was that it’s no longer safe for me to continue a career in motorcycle racing.”
“Obviously, the decision has been a difficult one and it’s been really hard to take the advice of my Consultant and admit defeat on this occasion but I really have no other option left at this stage,” Toseland wrote sounding dejected. “I’ve tried everything possible for the last few months but the sad truth is that none of it has worked and my wrist will never fully heal enough for me to operate the throttle properly and navigate right hand turns.”
“JT has shown dedication and determination in our aim to recover the best possible function in his right wrist,” said Toseland’s surgeon Mike Hayton. “We acted quickly to repair the damage with surgery and rehabilitation and, initially, believed that this had gone well, but we had also been clear from the outset that this was a potentially career-threatening and devastating injury.”
The British rider, who enjoys something of a musical career with his band Crash, added, “Knowing that I will never again be fully fit to race at the highest level, it’s also unfair for me to occupy a great seat in WSBK that a young, talented rider who is fully fit could take better advantage of.” Toseland, who will be thirty-one in less than a month’s time, completed only seven of the twenty races so far this season in WSBK.
He concluded, “I hope that the team can find a replacement who is able to do justice to the bike and the people working on it. I hadn’t expected my retirement to come at this time or in this way and I’m extremely sad to be leaving racing behind, but I still have the memories of the amazing opportunities and success that this career has provided me with.”