James Toseland Announces Retirement

September 9, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

 Two-time World Superbike Champion and former MotoGP competitor James Toseland has retired from motorcycle racing. The British rider released a statement on his personal website announcing the decision. Toseland cites permanent complications from a testing crash earlier in the season as the reason for his retirement.

Toseland-2011-BMW.jpg
British racer James Toseland has announced his retirement from motorcycle racing, citing long-term affects of a wrist injury earlier this year.

Toseland campaigned the 2011 World Superbike season for the BMW Italia squad. The 30-year-old enjoyed his greatest career success in WSB, taking a total of 16 victories and a pair of championships in his nine-year tenure. The first title came in 2004 aboard the factory Ducati, the second in 2007 while riding for the Ten Kate Honda team.

The 2008 season marked JT’s move to MotoGP, where he competed for two years on the Tech 3 Yamaha alongside teammate Colin Edwards. Toseland’s best GP finish was sixth, and he was replaced on the Tech 3 squad by American Ben Spies, with the British rider taking over Spies’ factory Yamaha seat back in World SBK.

Toseland wasn’t able to master the potential of the Yamaha on his return to SBK, managing four podiums and zero wins in 2010. His 2011 options were limited to the BMW Italia team, where Toseland struggled and never fully recovered from his Aragon injuries.

The injury, which occurred on March 20th, saw Toseland miss his home round at Donington Park. Originally given the green light to compete at the British round, further consultation with specialists deemed the injury much more serious, requiring an extended delay for his return. Toseland was sporadically on and off the starting grid ever since, most recently crashing out of the recent Nurburgring race. 

James Toseland  Nori haga and Regis Laconi on the final podium of 2004
James Tosleand took the title at Magny Cours.
James Toseland retires with a pair of WSB crowns, both earned in tight races – the first in 2004 for Ducati (top) the second in 2007 for the Ten Kate Honda squad (bottom).

More consultation has determined that the rider’s wrist would never fully recover with enough range of movement to continue his professional career.

Toseland statement announcing his retirement is below, courtesy of www.jamestoseland.com:

I wanted to write you a personal letter to explain the factors that have forced my early retirement and to take the oportunity to thank you for all of the amazing support that you have given me throughout my career.

As you all know, I’ve had a tough time since injuring my right wrist during a testing crash at Aragon in Spain earlier this year. At the time of first seeing my Consultant, he warned that the damage to my wrist could be career-threatening, but we both committed to doing everything we could to ensure that I could continue racing.

Having struggled through a couple of races and then crashing out in the terrible conditions at Nurburgring in Germany, I went back to see the Consultant, Mike Hayton, this week and the diagnosis was the worst I could have prepared myself for.

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.

I have to put the safety of the other riders on track first, as well as thinking about my own safety. 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.

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. 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.

You have been amazing in the best and worst times of my career and it’s been almost like having a second family to support me through my career. So, thank you for everything and I hope that I have done you proud.

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