Motorcycling: Toseland aims to end rivals' title hopes in Germany

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The Independent Online

James Toseland will start Superpole qualifying in the World Superbike Championship in Germany today with the comforting knowledge that in the 19-year history of the series, no rider with the kind of lead that he enjoys at this stage of the season has ever lost the title.

Over 20 races so far, the 26-year-old Briton and his Hannspree Ten Kate Honda technicians have built a 66-point advantage over his closest challenger, the Japanese rider Noriyuki Haga, on a Yamaha.

But Toseland is aware that there are still 150 points available in the six races remaining. "At this stage there is still all to play for, and 66 points is not a big enough lead to enable us to relax," he said. "But we had a great result here last year, so it's a track we know we can do well at. If we can have a weekend similar to Brands Hatch then it will be difficult for the rivals to catch us."

Toseland finished fifth fastest in yesterday's initial qualifying, when riders focused on working towards a good race set-up rather than achieving blazingly quick laps. "Today was more about race simulation and consistent lap times," he said.

His double victory at Brands last month has given him soaring confidence. He has a contract with the Yamaha Tech 3 team to step up to MotoGP in 2008, and he desperately wants to enter that arena as reigning world superbike king.