Luckless Toseland suffers title setback

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The Independent Online

James Toseland's hopes of clinching third place in the World Superbikes Championship suffered a setback when the Yorkshireman failed to finish in either race of the penultimate round.

The HM Plant Ducati rider had been the fastest throughout practice and official qualifying, only to then start from fourth on the grid after an error cost him during yesterday's Superpole lap.

The 22-year-old remained confident, though, of making up the ground on the second-placed Spaniard Ruben Xaus, with Britain's Neil Hodgson already assured of the title.

However, the Sheffield racer - whose future is in doubt after his team announced they are quitting the series - was given little chance to make up the ground after a broken gear lever on his Ducati 998F02 forced retirement from race one during the first lap. Xaus won the race from his Ducati Fila team-mate Hodgson with France's Regis Laconi third.

Toseland managed a few more circuits in the second race, only to crash out with just six laps remaining, losing his third place in the World Championship standings.

Xaus ensured maximum points with his second win of the day. Laconi took second this time ahead of Spain's Alstare Suzuki racer Gregorio Lavilla.

* Shane Byrne underlined his British Superbike title with his fourth winning double of a dominant campaign in the final round at Donington Park yesterday. There were no happy return for Niall Mackenzie, 42, who returned from retirement to ride for Rizla Suzuki in place of the injured Yukio Kagayama. The Scot, a triple former champion, failed to finish either race.

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