James Toseland: WorldSBK feels like a full world championship now

James Toseland says the WorldSBK Championship feels more complete with fresh nationalities and a great input from manufacturer teams in 2020

James Toseland

James Toseland says he expects ‘one hell of a year’ in the 2020 WorldSBK Championship with all five manufacturers capable of challenging for the top of the podium in his view.

The Briton, who won the 2004 and 2007 WorldSBK Championships with Ducati and Honda respectively, returns to the international paddock in 2020 as the team manager for the WRP Wepol Racing Yamaha WorldSSP team, featuring Briton Danny Webb on riding duties.

Toseland, who spent two seasons in MotoGP, won 16 WorldSBK races between 2001 and 2011 but recently courted some controversy by claiming British riders have damaged the series by retaining a stronghold on the leading seats.

Though Great Britain is still the dominant nationality with seven riders competing in 2020 – six of which are on factory machinery – Toseland feels the Honda’s return in full factory capacity this year creates a stronger spread of potential winners than of late.

“It is going to be one hell of a year. To get inside the top 10 of World Superbike this year is going to be really tough as you have two Ducatis in Chaz Davies and Scott Redding, the reigning five-time champion Jonny Rea and he is not going to get any slower this year.

“The Hondas too with Alvaro Bautista and Leon Haslam. I can see Honda has put in a massive, massive effort in and then you have the four Yamahas with Toprak Razgatlioglu and Loris Baz. I think I’ve reeled off eight names already so to beat those guys is going to be a really tough job this year.

“You’ve also got the crossover with the different nationalities, French, Turkish, British. It is feeling more like a full world championship now across four or five manufacturers. It is going to be really strong."

In all, 11 nationalities will be present on the full-time 2020 WorldSBK grid - Great Britain, Italy, France, Spain, USA, Japan, Argentina, Ireland, Turkey, Netherlands and Chile.

Toseland this week revealed he is continuing to suffer from the wrist injury that ended his racing career back in 2011 after a recent operation led to complications