KIVETON race ace James Toseland’s injury woes have forced him to retire.
The 31-year-old damaged his right wrist in a testing session in March, and after a lengthy battle to return to fill fitness, he discovered yesterday that the problem is irreparable.
A devastated Toseland said: “2011 has been a tough year for me and this week has been one of the most difficult of my life, but advice from professionals has made it clear that my crash at Aragon has left me with a permanent disability, which means that I will never again be able to ride competently at this level.”
“While that’s hard to hear, I have to place the emphasis on the safety of other riders in the paddock as well as myself and I realise that it’s not fair to occupy a World Superbike seat with a team as professional as BMW Motorrad Italia when there are fit and talented riders available who are desperate for this type of opportunity.
“I hadn’t expected my retirement to come at this time or in this way and I’m extremely sad to be leaving racing behind, but I still have the memories of the amazing opportunities and success that this career has provided me with.”
Damage caused by the crash left the two-time World Superbike Champion with a severely restricted range of movement in his right wrist, making it difficult to operate a motorcycle throttle properly and almost imporssible to navigate right hand turns.
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mike Hayton added: “JT has shown dedication and determination in our aim to recover the best possible function in his right wrist.”
“We acted quickly to repair the damage with surgery and rehabilitation and, initially, believed that this had gone well, but we had also been clear from the outset that this was a potentially career-threatening and devastating injury.”
“While his approach to recovery has been admirable and he has continued to make good progress, he has not recovered enough range of movement in the right wrist to continue as an elite motorcyclist.”
“We had a difficult discussion on his future career, in which he showed a true sense of professionalism and an unselfish approach to making way for young, talented riders. To work with athletes like JT is a privilege and makes us do what we do.”
The Doncaster-born rider made his World Superbike debut in 2001 for GSE Racing, and three years later became the youngest ever champion at 23 years old.
His second world title came in 2007, riding for HANNspree Ten Kate Honda, as he pipped Noriyuki Haga by two points.
That success saw him nominated for BBC Sports Personality of the Year, and win a place in the Tech 3 Yamaha MotoGP team.
The 2008 season saw him claim nine top-10 finishes and 11th place overall in the MotoGP championship, but after a difficult second term he dropped back down to World Superbikes.
This was his first season with the BMW Motorrad Italia team, but his injury in March wrecked his chances of returning to any kind of form.