Toseland's risk strategy is rewarded with first win

Motor Cycling: Sheffield rider produces near-faultless race to end Hodgson's perfect run this season
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The Independent Online

James Toseland, of Sheffield, won his first-ever World Superbike Championship race here yesterday to end Neil Hodgson's perfect record this season.

Hodgson, riding for Ducati Fila, won the first race in eastern Germany to equal Colin Edwards' record for the most consecutive victories in the series but could not make it a perfect 10 wins from 10 outings in the second.

The HM Plant Ducati rider Toseland, who overcame a first-lap collision with Gregorio Lavilla to finish third in race one, was the class of the field as he streaked into a lead he showed no sign of surrendering and won in style to finally break his duck.

"I can't believe it," a delighted Toseland said afterwards. "I want to dedicate the win to my family, without them I wouldn't be here. I knew it was coming soon - the whole HM Plant Ducati team have worked so hard to make it happen. I'm really pleased to have got the win and beating Neil makes the victory even more valuable."

In race one, Toseland collided with Alstare Suzuki's Lavilla but followed a trip through the gravel to storm through the field from last to take third. His team-mate, Chris Walker, led the early stages but eventually slipped back as Hodgson and PSG Ducati's Pierfrancesco Chili battled it out for victory, the Burnley-born rider eventually prevailing by less than a second. Walker, from Nottingham, finished fifth.

In the second race Toseland was again the fastest man on the track and took the lead from the start. His former team-mate Hodgson dived past in the Esses but when he went off line on the next straight, Toseland was able to reclaim the lead.

The pair touched and Hodgson lost out as Toseland took a lead he was not going to give up. Hodgson could not get close as the laps ran out, finishing over seven seconds behind as Walker completed an all-English podium.

Afterwards Hodgson was keen to praise Toseland despite seeing his winning run end. "It was a tough race and it's a tough track for overtaking so that's why I made the move on James," he said. "We made contact and I thought I had no clutch lever. I glanced down and the lever was facing down so I banged it back. It wasn't quite right but I could continue the race. I waited for James to make a mistake but it didn't come.

"I was trying to stay behind him, but we got the back-markers and it was all over then. I was pleased to match Colin's record but you can't win them all. James totally deserved his victory and the best man won on the day."

The result extends Hodgson's championship lead to 113 points with Toseland moving into second place in the standings as a result of Ruben Xaus' solitary fifth place.

Troy Corser claimed 12th and 14th for Carl Fogarty's Foggy Petronas Racing team but team-mate James Haydon crashed heavily in race one and could not start the second after suffering bruises and a sprained ankle and wrist.

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