It wasn’t that long ago (2007 actually) that James Toseland was on top of the world, handily winning the 2007 World Superbike Championship on his Ten Kate Honda CBR1000RR. However the British rider has had nothing but a string of bad luck since his WSBK domination, entering MotoGP in 2008 with the Tech3 Yamaha team, and then back into WSBK with the factory-backed Sterilgarda Yamaha squad in 2010. Toseland failed to impress his rookie season in MotoGP, and his second-season toss-up with Colin Edwards over their crew chief swap didn’t seem to help matters much either.
Bumped out of the squad by American Ben Spies, JT was in World Superbike this last season, where many expected to see the part-time pianist play another tarantella of victories in the series. The Yamaha R1 had been the bike to have in the 2009 season, and Toseland was after all a former WSBK Champion; but the results didn’t materialize, and JT finished the season 9th, nearly 100 points behind his rookie Teammate Cal Crutchlow, who will be in Tech3 Yamaha for the 2011 season. The last man left standing in the silly season round of musical chairs, Toseland will see his stature in WSBK further slide into oblivion as he now joins the Italian satellite BMW squad for 2011.
According to Bikesportnews, Toseland confirmed at the David Jeffries Awards Dinner that he will be riding with Ayrton Badovini on the satellite BMW squad being put together by BMW Italy (a move that has been heavily rumored). While no official announcement has been made yet, Toseland is expected to test the BMW next month.
While JT fans will be happy to see that the Brit is remaining in motorcycle racing, his fall from MotoGP, to WSBK, and now to a WSBK satellite team doesn’t bode well for Toseland. 2011 will be a make-or-break season for JT, where a strong performance could signal the turnaround for his career, or he continues his mediocre performance on the track and collapses in on himself like a dying star. As always time will tell.