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GP Week : Issue 11
JAMES Toseland was another to repay some debts at Le Mans – at least in the eyes of some. The former double World Superbike Champion’s strong start as a MotoGP rookie earned him some criticism from other riders. No respecter of reputation, Toseland showed from the very first he is not afraid of riding aggressively. Forceful passes at Qatar and the next round at Jerez were dubbed by a slightly amused Rossi as “more like Superbike style”; while Chris Vermeulen found himself dismayed when the Englishman pushed past him on the inside mid-corner in Spain. Toseland could easily defend himself against accusations of dangerous riding. Passing people is what he’s paid for, he pointed out. And back then the Tech 3 Yamaha didn’t yet have the pneumatic-valve engine, so he had to do it on corner speed. It made the complaints sound like sour grapes. After all, nobody likes getting passed by a rookie. At Le Mans, the Briton took a flying start, but had dropped to ninth by the end of lap 2, and was battling with Dovizioso when he fell victim to something similar. The way he saw it, “Andrea went wide at the fourth corner, and as I tried to go underneath him he came back on line and took my front wheel. It was just a racing incident.” Unsurprisingly, Dovizioso saw it slightly differently. “I was accelerating when James hit me very hard from behind.” Either way, it was Toseland who paid the price, tumbling straight into the gravel. Perhaps those rivals whose noses he has put out of joint will think justice was done. 180 wins on one bike Toseland : No aggression lost LANDMARK rider Rossi paid a debt to history after taking his 90th win – putting him equal with 13-times 50 and 125 World Champion Angel Nieto, at the same time equalling the Spanish star’s rostrum record of 130. After taking the chequered flag, he stopped by the track and handed the bike to Nieto, fully leathered and helmeted, and took a back seat as the legend toured him round the track. Rossi held a white flag bearing the legend ‘90 plus 90,’ and said: “To have 180 victories together on one bike was a great moment. “It was my idea, but from a long time ago. I think in 2006 I went to Angel and said: I’m close – we must do this together. Dainese made him special leathers, and we were ready … but f***, we had to wait a long, long time!” “We had an argument about who should ride – he said: you ride; I said: no, you ride. I won the argument. “It means a lot to me to be equal with such a legend.” Rossi’s next target in the record books is still two or more years away, even if he wins every other race this year. His compatriot Giacomo Agostini has a total of 122 wins. 32