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Tech3 Yamaha’s James Toseland celebrated his 28th birthday with a hard-fought sixth place at Phillip Island’s MotoGP round this morning but it was a performance worthy of a podium.

The two-times World Superbike Champion got an amazing start and spent most of the race battling with Fiat Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso for the last podium place after Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner ran away with it at the beginning.

“That was an unbelievable race. I got a really good start but Casey and Nicky were incredibly fast at the start. They really put the hammer down and I was wary that I needed to save my tyre for the last few laps, which are always difficult on this track with so much wear on the left side," said Toseland.


"I just wanted to stay out of trouble but I had some incredible battles out there. The one with Valentino was something special. When he passed me I knew I had to get straight back by him. If I had let him go I knew I’d have to push right at the limit and that would wear my tyre too quickly.

"The rear was already spinning at that point and I tried everything I could to keep him behind me. When he did pass me and he pulled a gap, I did push a bit too hard and that cost me towards the end of the race. But it was an honour to be racing with Valentino and passing him.

"In the last three laps I’d just lost a bit of grip and that was crucial because it probably cost me those two places. I knew fourth was up for grabs so I tried to pass Andrea at Honda Hairpin on the last lap. We ran a bit wide and Andrea seemed a bit upset but I passed him without touching him. I am sorry if he is upset, but he is upset for no reason.

"I was fighting for the best result of my MotoGP career so I had to try something. Shinya came by as I ran wide but I passed him back at Siberia, only for him to come right back underneath me because I ran a bit wide again. I am just happy with the way I rode.

"I rode hard and I am really pleased that on my birthday I put a good show on and I could enjoy it. I was riding my heart out and when I have a ride like that and I pass Valentino it encourages me even more.”

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