Silly season continues here at Asphalt & Rubber. Next up on the rumormill is James Toseland, who is rumored to be looking at a return to World Superbike, possibly with the Alstare Suzuki team.
It’s no secret that the British rider has had a hard time of things during the 2009 season. Arguably riding for the best satellite team in the paddock, Toseland has been unable to run in the same crowd as teammate Colin Edwards seems able to do. Toseland currently sits in 11th place in MotoGP, 5 places behind Edwards.
Most of the rider swap rumors currently floating around the MotoGP paddock involve Tech3 Yamaha. The French team has been linked to Ben Spies, Marco Simoncelli, and even John Hopkins. With new riders allegedly coming in, that means someone at Tech3 has to go. That logic doesn’t bode well for Toseland since Tech3 Manager, Herve Poncharal, is very keen to keep Colin Edwards in the team for next year, and has reportedly said, “If it was up to me to decide, I would re-sign with Colin Edwards today.”
Dorna however might have different thoughts. After securing the BBC to an exclusive deal to televise MotoGP in the UK, the race series promoter would not be too pleased on now losing its only British rider. Theoretically, Dorna could put some pressure (or more likely, make it worth Tech3′s while) to keep Toseland on to appease the Brits.
For now, Toseland can breath a little easy. Spies has reportedly said he will stay in WSBK until he wins the Championship, which may or may not occur this year. And, Simoncelli is currently rumored to more likely end up at Honda, not Yamaha.
With World Superbike meeting in Misano this weekend, we can expect some of these rumors to either gain or lose some truth as managers have an opportunity to sit down with teams. As we like to say at A&R, time will tell.