No more Mr Nice guy? Oh. . . yes he is !

Interview: Laura Bradley, pics: Simon Bradley

We have seen James in and out of the races, he is also a very talented musician, as we all know...(Note) James Toseland is an old friend of ours and has always been known as Mr Nice Guy. However I have often found myself this year hearing people talk about how he is suddenly taking himself a lot more seriously and is harder to talk to. Being a loyal friend I refused to believe that Mr Nice Guy had gone bad, but when it got to the fifth cancelled interview attempt even I started to have my doubts. In the end, though, patience was a virtue and I finally got a chance to find out for myself. I personally think that at the races he is just under a lot of pressure, and I still feel he is a genuine person, but you can form your own opinions...

You had a new helmet Monza, was that a one off or are you going to be keeping that design for the season?

It was just a tribute to Pier-Francisco Chili with the lion on the helmet. When he retired from racing last year there didn’t seem to be much celebration to recognise what he’s done for superbikes and I just thought it was a nice gesture. I wrote the number seven on my leathers and my helmet too. He appreciated it; he was in tears after the race so it was nice!

When Neil Hodgson went up to Moto GP, I feel it’s fair to say he did not do as well as we all hoped. Are you worried that the same will happen to you when you move up?

The only reason that Hodgson didn’t do very well was because of the team, not the rider. He was riding well! The team weren’t very good and it was a year old bike. They developed it from the year before and Honda’s a little more than that. He didn’t have much of a chance unfortunately, but hopefully in my situation we can win the championship. There’s a lot of good teams and a lot of good bikes that are interested at the moment and if I get a good bike and a good team there’s no reason why I couldn’t do well!

Have you signed any contracts for next year or are you still waiting to see what comes up?

I can’t sign the contracts yet!

But do you know if you’re going up there yet? You want to don’t you?

Yeah it’s an ambition of mine but nothing will be decided until after the final races for Honda.

With the weather being as it is today are you worried about the race? (Ed - it was absolutely chucking it down)

No, not at all, it’s just stressful because in the dry conditions yesterday I was quite a lot faster than most of the guys and I was really confident but today’s a bit of a lottery, it could go really bad! But everybody’s in the same boat though so we’ve just got to get on with it. Though it would have been better for everybody watching and the guys racing to be in the dry for sure!

So it might be a bit like the last Moto GP round, with everybody falling off!

Yep, but hopefully not me!!!!

Yeah, hopefully not! If you go up to GP will you still stay with Crash? (Ed - the band that JT plays and sings with)

Yeah of course I will! It’s an important thing in my life; I could never stop doing that!

Are you happy with everything that’s happening this season?

Yeah well we’re still developing the Fireblade from race to race, there’s always improvements to make nothing’s ever perfect when it comes to motorcycles. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong but there’s a lot of things that can go right as well! This team’s a great team, we’ve kept on improving and we’ve just had a good season so far!

What do you think about Ducati’s argument for upgrading their bike?

Ah, well it’s all rule changes you see! Ducati no longer manufacture the 999, they only do the 1098. But if the rules are changed then superbikes are no longer dedicated to racing thousands, while if they aren't changed then Ducati's current model isn't allowed so that’s the problem! So they either change the rules or Ducati’s not racing, which has put the championship under pressure to change the rules and obviously the Japanese manufacturers aren’t too happy. But whatever they do the rules have to be clear to stop it from being like the old days where if you don’t ride a Ducati you can’t win!

"Hi guys - catch up with you afterwards, OK?" JT confirms his interview slot after Superpole...



Editors note - James crashed while in fourth place during race one, restarting in eighteenth and riding his extremely second hand Fireblade through to a magnificent eighth. Race two was cancelled as the already appalling conditions worsened.

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