Australian GP: Tech 3 Yamaha race report

Birthday boy Toseland celebrates in style at Phillip Island James Toseland celebrated his 28th birthday in fantastic fashion today, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider equalling his best MotoGP result in a pulsating Australian MotoGP race. Toseland played a...

Birthday boy Toseland celebrates in style at Phillip Island

James Toseland celebrated his 28th birthday in fantastic fashion today, the Tech 3 Yamaha rider equalling his best MotoGP result in a pulsating Australian MotoGP race. Toseland played a starring role from the start of an enthralling 27-lap race as he charged into third place on the first lap. He briefly surrendered third to fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Jorge Lorenzo on lap three, but retaliated superbly with a bold move at the first corner on lap five. Toseland then led a three-way Yamaha dice that included a hard-charging Valentino Rossi as he rode magnificently to keep the world champion at bay for six laps. Twice Rossi passed Toseland in quick succession, only for the British rider to respond with inch-perfect moves to reclaim third in what proved to be the battle of the race. Toseland's determined pursuit of Rossi thrilled a large Australian crowd, but as he lost touch with the Italian on lap 13, he was then locked in another terrific battle with Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano. Just when it looked like his faultless display would be rewarded with his career best result, he dropped from fourth to sixth on a frantic lap 25. Toseland continued to push hard but was unable to improve on sixth, but his performance was arguably the outstanding ride of the day.

Colin Edwards also made a great start from the third row of the grid as he tried to mark his 100th Grand Prix appearance with a top six. Fifth on the first lap, he quickly encountered some traction issues, and his reward for a hard fought race was a battling eighth place. Today's result saw the Tech 3 Yamaha team move back into fourth place in the Team World Championship standings.

James Toseland - Position 6th - 100 points

"That was an unbelievable race. I got a really good start but Casey and Nicky were incredibly fast at the start. They really put the hammer down and I was wary that I needed to save my tyre for the last few laps, which are always difficult on this track with so much wear on the left side. I just wanted to stay out of trouble but I had some incredible battles out there. The one with Valentino was something special. When he passed me I knew I had to get straight back by him. If I had let him go I knew I'd have to push right at the limit and that would wear my tyre too quickly. The rear was already spinning at that point and I tried everything I could to keep him behind me. When he did pass me and he pulled a gap, I did push a bit too hard and that cost me towards the end of the race. But it was an honour to be racing with Valentino and passing him. In the last three laps I'd just lost a bit of grip and that was crucial because it probably cost me those two places. I knew fourth was up for grabs so I tried to pass Andrea at Honda Hairpin on the last lap. We ran a bit wide and Andrea seemed a bit upset but I passed him without touching him. I am sorry if he is upset, but he is upset for no reason. I was fighting for the best result of my MotoGP career so I had to try something. Shinya came by as I ran wide but I passed him back at Siberia, only for him to come right back underneath me because I ran a bit wide again. I am just happy with the way I rode. I rode hard and I am really pleased that on my birthday I put a good show on and I could enjoy it. I was riding my heart out and when I have a ride like that and I pass Valentino it encourages me even more."

Colin Edwards - Position 8th - 126 points

"I got a really good start and I thought I could hang in with the battle for third and fourth, but pretty much from the first couple of laps I knew it was going to be a really difficult race. I couldn't even keep them close to me because I couldn't get in the corner and I couldn't get out of the corners. Quite early on I had a moment on the front-end and that hadn't happened all weekend. After that I just couldn't push and I just stayed at the same pace. I couldn't really do more than a 31.5 and it didn't matter what I did I kept falling back. Right at the end I could see de Puniet was running into a few problems with his rear tyre and I was slowly reeling him back in. I managed to pass him and make it stick. It is severely disappointing because I really believed that I could run up close to the podium today. I was riding really hard so to finish eighth is frustrating. I felt like I was on the absolute limit at the pace I was running and it wasn't good enough. This isn't the way I wanted to celebrate my 100th Grand Prix, but congratulations to James. He rode a great race and I'll be looking for a lot more in Malaysia."

Herve Poncharal - Team Manager

"James was absolutely incredible today and he could not have done anymore to get his best result of the season. It was a shame he was sixth again, but again he showed what a true fighter he is. We were quietly confident going into the race after we had a very strong qualifying session with James fifth and Colin seventh on the grid. James made an incredible start and when we saw him fighting in third we couldn't believe it because we weren't sure whether he could maintain the pace knowing how tough this track is for the tyres. But he kept his pace and that was impressive. He also fought very hard with some of the top guys in this championship. His fight with Valentino was extra special and terrific to watch. Not a lot of guys get passed by Valentino and then pass him straight back, so it was incredible to see him do this. We were dreaming of a podium at one point but the way he rode, I think he gave the fans a really special show. It was a great way to celebrate his birthday and I think he gave himself a good present with that ride. Colin didn't finish where we expected but he fought hard to the end and his result has helped us move back into fourth in the Team World Championship, which is very important for us. I'd also like to congratulate Mike di Meglio for winning the World 125 Championship. As a French team it is special to see home grown talent succeed on the world stage."

-credit: yamaha-racing.com

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Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Colin Edwards , Shinya Nakano , James Toseland , Mike di Meglio , Andrea Dovizioso , Jorge Lorenzo , Herve Poncharal , Phillip Island