Briton James Toseland became the youngest World Superbike Championship winner in history after finishing second to Noriyuki Haga in the final race of the season at Magny Cours on Sunday.

Briton James Toseland became the youngest World Superbike Championship winner in history after finishing second to Noriyuki Haga in the final race of the season at Magny Cours on Sunday.


Toseland, 23, came into Sunday's two races four points behind factory Ducati team-mate Regis Laconi, but his race one victory – combined with a third for Laconi, behind Haga – gave the Briton a five-point lead heading into the all decisive race two.


Troy Corser started from pole position, but by end of the opening laps the Foggy Petronas rider had slipped behind the lead group of Toseland (who banged bars with Chris Vermeulen to take second into turn one) Haga, Vermeulen and Laconi.


Honda rider Vermeulen would retire at half race distance, following further mechanical woes, leaving the top three to decide the race and world championship.


Toseland would lead until Haga eventually passed the number 52 in the closing stages of the 23 lap race, while Laconi - although always in touch with the top two - never rose above third and would slip away from the back of Toseland to finish 2,5 second adrift.


Toseland struggled to hold back the tears as he made his way back to the pits to greet his team after clinching the title.


The Briton said: "It's been a long rocky road but I want to say a massive thank you to all my friends and especially my family and my team. I'm world champion and I think I deserved it. The championship is going back to where it belongs - Britain."


"There was no option of a mistake. I can't imagine the disappointment I would feel if I had finished second," Toseland added.


Laconi was philosophical despite his disappointment at losing out on the title. He scored four more race victories than Toseland this year, but also suffered two more retirements than his team-mate.


The Frenchman, who was just nine points behind in the final standings, said: "I'm just happy because I did the best I could do - sadly it wasn't enough. I still want to fight for titles in the future and I think I can do that".


"Second is not what I wanted but it's my best result in the championship so I'm happy about that," he added.


Meanwhile, Vermeulen lost third place in the championship to Noriyuki Haga. Haga finished nine points behind Laconi and took six wins this season, but also had five non-point finishes.