James Toseland has had a difficult start to the 2011 World Superbike season. The BMW Italia rider broke his wrist after just one round of the 2011 season, after falling at a test session at the Motorland Aragon track. Toseland underwent emergency surgery to correct the problem immediately afterwards, but the crash meant that the double World Superbike champion was forced to miss both his home round at Donington Park 10 days ago, as well as the Assen round on April 17th.
After not fielding a replacement for Toseland at Donington, the BMW Italia team have turned to former World Supersport veteran Barry Veneman to take Toseland's place at Assen. The Dutchman is no stranger to the World Superbike paddock, having contested the World Supersport championship on a Honda and a Suzuki between 2003 and 2009. He is also no stranger to the BMW S1000RR, campaigning the bike both last year and this year in the German IDM Superbike championship. Veneman has also been involved in the development program for BMW's World Superbike team, riding the S1000RR a number of times throughout 2010.
The deal came about after Erick Oberink, manager of BMW Motorrad in the Netherlands, contacted the BMW Italia team about the vacant ride at Assen. BMW Italia had not intended to field a replacement, but Oberink convinced the team that Veneman was the only suitable candidate for the job. With financial assistance from the Assen TT Circuit (hoping that Veneman's participation will entice a few more Dutch racing fans to attend), BMW in the Netherlands and some personal sponsors, Veneman was able to finance the opportunity to race in World Superbikes. The 34-year-old Dutchman has the benefit of experience with both the bike and the Pirellis, as well as knowing the Assen track like the back of his hand.
Veneman's ride in World Superbikes will be a one-off for Assen, however. James Toseland is expecting to make his return to WSBK at the following round at Monza, on May 8th. Veneman will be hoping that he can impress the factory BMW team sufficiently to be considered as a replacement candidate should either Leon Haslam or Troy Corser be injured.