Toseland pounces on Laconi penalty

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The Independent Online

James Toseland took over the lead of the World Superbike Championship after two podium finishes yesterday left him by two points ahead of Fila Ducati team-mate Régis Laconi in the fifth round in Germany yesterday.

James Toseland took over the lead of the World Superbike Championship after two podium finishes yesterday left him by two points ahead of Fila Ducati team-mate Régis Laconi in the fifth round in Germany yesterday.

Laconi made up for the disappointment of finishing sixth in race one because of a ride-through penalty to take victory in race two ahead of team-mate Toseland, who recaptured the lead in the world championship with a battling second place in the opening race.

In race one, Toseland finished behind Japan's Noriyuki Haga on the Renegade Ducati and just ahead of the veteran Italian rider Pierfrancesco Chili on the PSG1 Ducati. Haga dominated the first race from the start, but the drama unfolded behind as previous championship leader Laconi saw his chances of a win hit by a ride-through penalty imposed for a technical infringement during practice on Saturday.

Haga made the most of a good start to take a comfortable win by five seconds as Toseland battled his way from a second row start to take runner-up spot ahead of Chili. As Haga built on his early lead and Toseland worked his way towards a podium finish, Laconi dropped out of the top 15 with his ride-through penalty before a dramatic fightback into the top 10.

Haga set a succession of fastest laps to pull away as Toseland gradually worked his way into the top three. Pole-sitter Troy Corser started to drop back on the FP1 Foggy Petronas machine as Toseland and Chili battled for the second step on the podium.

Laconi took sixth from Haga's team-mate, the British rider Leon Haslam, in the closing stages and Haga took an easy win as Toseland won his private duel with Chili.

Corser's team-mate Chris Walker, who finished on the podium at Oschersleben last season, retired from the race in the early stages.

Haga admitted that the warm weather had made concentrating on the race a difficult task. "It was not easy because it was very hot and it was quite a long race," he said, while Toseland admitted that having to make up ground from a second-row start had allowed Haga to pull away. "I lost the lead on Haga trying to get past the other guys," he said. "I'm really happy with the second place." Laconi had the better of things in race two to close the gap up on Toseland in the championship race.

Laconi held a large advantage over his team-mate at the chequered flag as Haslam, in his first podium finish in the World Superbike Championship, made it two Britons on the podium.

Nottingham-born rider Walker salvaged a seventh place on a disappointing day for the Foggy-Petronas team as the pole man Corser retired from race two along with race one winner Haga and Chili.

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