James Toseland has been sacked by Ducati Xerox after failing to retain the World Superbike Championship crown.
The Sheffield rider, who finished fourth this year, has been replaced by Australia’s Troy Bayliss, who won the title for Ducati in 2001. Ducati have also replaced France’s Regis Laconi with 23-year-old Italian rider Lorenzo Lanzi. Ducati director Paolo Ciabatti said: “Rider changes are always hard, and it was very difficult on this occasion.” Toseland, 25, said at the beginning of the year that he would like to land a ride in MotoGP.
After finishing runner-up to Colin Edwards in 2002, Bayliss moved to MotoGP and rode for Ducati’s factory team. He will be keen to do battle with fellow Australian Troy Corser, who won the Superbike championship this year. “I’m really looking forward to hopping back on a Ducati superbike,” said Bayliss. “Even though the bike has changed quite a lot, the engine is still very similar and has been much improved since I’ve been away. I have a lot of good memories from the past and I aim to continue having more of them.”
Shame really, I liked Toseland with Ducati, seemed to suite well! Who is he racing for next season?