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RedDog
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   Posted 1/3/2012 10:05 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I found this on AMA Soup - Pretty spicy soup, but factual:

http://www.superbikeplanet.com/2012/Jan/120103numbertwo.htm

There has been no greater on-track fantasy in MotoGP over the last decade than the ultimate Italian motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi, slicing through the tracks and rivals of the world on the ultimate Italian motorcycle, Ducati.

That dream became a reality in 2011 when Rossi joined Ducati Corse, and the result was ... a nightmare.

Seven-time MotoGP World Champion Rossi went winless for the first time in his 16-year Grand Prix career. Think about it: The last time Rossi didn't win a World Championship race came when Alanis Morrisette—heard of her lately?—topped the global music charts with her raging PMS anthem, "You Oughta Know," and long before the world even knew of a randy White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.

What was more stunning about Rossi's fall from the pinnacle in 2011 was that neither he nor Ducati was even close to threatening Honda, Yamaha or fellow aliens Casey Stoner, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa. If Rossi's season was a Rubik's Cube, not even one side would feature aligned colors.

Rossi finished on the podium just once, a third-place finish at Le Mans. He also never came close to starting on the front row, with a best grid spot of sixth. He ended up tied for sixth in the standings, the worst finish of his Grand Prix career since he finished ninth in his debut season in 125cc, in 1996.

If Rossi's season was a Rubik's Cube, not even one side would feature aligned colors.
Many expected Rossi and longtime ace crew chief Jerry Burgess to quickly adjust to and refine the carbon-fiber frame of the Ducati GP11, which used the engine as a stressed member unlike the traditional, alloy-based frames used by their two previous employers, Yamaha and Honda. After all, the unpredictable front end of the Ducati would be easy to fix in the hands of two men who transformed the Yamaha M1 from a lead-sled to world-dominating machine in 2004.

But Rossi and JB never came to grips with the GP11 or the characteristics of the Bridgestone front tire. Ducati rushed different designs of the GP11 to Rossi during the season, including a previously unthinkable addition of aluminum parts to the front of the chassis. But the magical tweak never was found.

Some also muttered that Rossi's early-season struggles were due to lingering effects of the shoulder and leg injuries he suffered in 2010. Stoner even asked Rossi—with a huge dollop of sarcasm—in a memorable post-race confrontation at Jerez if The Doctor's shoulder injury caused his ill-timed passing attempt of Stoner, which launched both into the gravel trap.

But Stoner knew better. He rode the Ducati from 2007-10 and knew its finicky, evil ways. He took perverse pleasure knowing the GP11 would be a beast for even a healthy Rossi to handle, with little hope on the horizon. Sure enough, Rossi's only podium came in the fourth race of the season, and his form bored further beneath the surface of respectability even more as the season wore on.

Failure took a heavy mental toll on Rossi. Spears of doubt pierced his previously impenetrable confidence. It became a too-common occurrence in MotoGP paddocks and worldwide TV feeds this year to see Rossi sitting in his chair in the Ducati garage, gesticulating wildly with his hands to Burgess and mechanics and then staring blankly into nothing.

Gaunt. Ghostly. Lost.


RedDog
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Richard47
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   Posted 1/4/2012 7:41 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
No mention made of the leg injury he got in 2010, the first time he had been badly hurt in his career. That might have put a little doubt in his mind, even if he wasn't aware of it. And he's getting on in years, relatively speaking. No longer the youngster that finds everything is going his way. Well, nobody gets to be an alien forever, it has to end sometime. I'd like to see him trouncing the Hondas regularly (I'd like to see Jorge and Ben doing that too, Nicky also for that matter), maybe it will happen, maybe it's wishful thinking.


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Racer1
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   Posted 1/4/2012 8:25 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The fact that the Ducati 2011 season was a clusterf**k isn't really surprising... While Rossi's times were consistently faster than Stoner's from the 2010 season, the pace of development is rapid and Honda and Yamaha had more development headroom in their traditional formats - and much more money to extract that performance.

The looming 2012 season, back on 1000cc machines, meant that a lot of Ducati's money and energy was going on development for the next season - it was apparent that Honda were committed to not leaving the 800cc era winless and were prepared to throw whatever money was necessary to grab the final championship. Ducati made a decision to essentially use the 2011 season as a test platform for 2012 and not throw money away on a useless bid for glory in 2011. Rossi even elected to open a new engine and start from the back of the grid to test new mounting points in one race - this was not a season to look for results and there can be nothing more miserable for a racer than knowing he is in a race as a test pilot and not there to fight for position.

In short, Ducati went "all in" on a bid to prepare for the 1000cc era in 2012 and hit the ground running - it looks like they may have lost that bet before the season even starts.

Quite why Burgess and Rossi haven't been able to reproduce their successful Honda and Yamaha formula is unknown - the CF frame was clearly a part of it, but probably the Italian culture at Ducati hasn't helped. Personally, I can't see Ducati seriously challenging Honda - and maybe Yamaha too - in 2012. This is a shame as it would make for some great press, wonderful racing and be good for the sport in general.

It's also quite possible that Rossi has lost his edge and some of his mojo - he has been at this top level since the 1990s, he has nine world championships and nothing left to prove. He suffered his first injury that actually kept him out a race in 2010 and can be forgiven for being a little circumspect. A career closing win on the Ducati would be the icing on the cake, but at what cost?
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/4/2012 8:50 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I do understand and see that point, R1.

But, I don't understand how the formidable powerhouse of Rossi with Burgess etc. would not see that before they moved verified by their 80 second
fix, words from Rossi about Stoner not riding hard enough, etc. All in all, Team Rossi did not manage to do/fix what was needed. Last season was the
first where Rossi got psyched out by lousy performance and a bike he could not get to do what he wanted, even with the help of the best. They could
not get top speed performance running like they stated years before was Stoner's biggest advantage.

Anyway, soon the flag drops and the BS stops - and excuses will always be there. One point, we have a Rossi that whines now, cause things ain't
going his ways. The videos from the pits where he sits down and explains to his crew says it all.


RedDog
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Racer1
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   Posted 1/4/2012 9:25 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
RedDog said...
I do understand and see that point, R1.

But, I don't understand how the formidable powerhouse of Rossi with Burgess etc. would not see that before they moved verified by their 80 second
fix, words from Rossi about Stoner not riding hard enough, etc. All in all, Team Rossi did not manage to do/fix what was needed. Last season was the
first where Rossi got psyched out by lousy performance and a bike he could not get to do what he wanted, even with the help of the best. They could
not get top speed performance running like they stated years before was Stoner's biggest advantage.

Anyway, soon the flag drops and the BS stops - and excuses will always be there. One point, we have a Rossi that whines now, cause things ain't
going his ways. The videos from the pits where he sits down and explains to his crew says it all.


Yep this is true - although I haven't actually seen Rossi whining or making any excuses - he has been pretty self critical in most of the interviews I've read.

I think the talk before of "Stoner not trying hard enough, fix the front in 80 seconds, etc. etc." was just typical smack talk - everyone, including Rossi, knew Stoner was riding the wheels off the Ducati, but he was trying to psych him out and needle him - it worked against Rossi for once though, as it merely motivated Stoner!
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/4/2012 10:07 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
For the coming season, I think Stoner is top motivated, baby coming and all. He's at the top right now.


RedDog
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el SID
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   Posted 1/4/2012 1:59 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Well, another opinion. Look, what racer can say he has stood on a podium every single year, in every single class, of his gp career? Very few if any. I think Rossi did touch the podium his first year, but not positive. Just checked wiki,yep his first win was August 1996. So they thought they could tame the beast, and do it on the quick, big deal. One would like to think that after the domination of the past 10 or so years, they could. Did they talk skit, yeah. But lets not forget the mountains of bull crap we had to listen to when Rossi was king. Thats part of the game. There is a chance Rossi hangs it up after this year, I think. He lost a good friend last year, thats hard when a guy you know and race with dies in the line of work. Plus does the Ducati feather in his cap really motivate him? The fire seems to be gone, or very dim as of late. Its hard to watch former multi time champs fizzle out, but I think it maybe happening with both Ducati riders.
I think Stoner is going to be fast. Then fall get hurt,and rethink his situation. With Supersics death last year, he may be there already. A big off is coming, he did have a pretty fit year, no broken bone. Aside from his weird health issues back Aug or Sept I cant remember. If pedbot gets a sizable lead in the championship, Stoner will moan. Guarantee. I would too. But pedbot is Honda's golden boy and he needs to win one badly this year as I believe his contract is up. Marc Marquez is coming to a motogp ride near him, if not his ride. So I expect a enthusiastic Honda camp filled with drama, hopefully upsetting the balance and opening the door for big Ben, to walk through.
Have Ducati actually shown their hand? I'm not sure yet, plus its preseason testing 1st tests. As rd said when the flag drops the bullskit stops. I hope they are competitive,not dominate but competitive,2 wins for Hayden, 5 for Rossi would be nice. More than likely though, Rossis career may be scared by the Ducati. He very well could be blanked. Thats the way it looks, right now.


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RedDog
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   Posted 1/4/2012 3:20 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Oh I hope for a very competitive MotoGP season, especially when we cannot get WSBK subscription on line.


RedDog
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thesoapster
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   Posted 1/4/2012 7:24 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Sucks that you cannot, RD. WSBK is much more competitive! Ducati does well there, too.
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Cookie32
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   Posted 1/5/2012 5:07 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Stoner has proved last year,what we all knew. The ducati was and is a dog of a bike to race, just ask the rest of the field on the Dukes.
All it took was for Stoner to get onto the Honda, and the rest is history. He proburaly would of done the same last year on the factory Yammy.

As for Rossi, he only proved two things, that the Dukes are not only dogs to ride, but how good of a rider Stoner really is. Rossi still has, and always will, have a thorn in his side- Casey Stoner. Bring on the 2012 MotoGP season!!!
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Racer1
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   Posted 1/5/2012 1:24 PM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Cookie32 said...
As for Rossi, he only proved two things, that the Dukes are not only dogs to ride, but how good of a rider Stoner really is. Rossi still has, and always will, have a thorn in his side- Casey Stoner.


i actually agree with this - I do think Stoner is the class of the field at the moment.

There is one point that is being constantly overlooked and missed though in these posts... Everyone is saying that Stoner was an amazing rider to tame the Ducati, that Rossi now must realize how hard it is to ride the Ducati and how talented Stoner was, etc. etc. BUT.... Rossi's lap times and elapsed race times on the Ducati consistently beat Stoners times from the previous year - if that's "how good of a rider Stoner really is" then isn't Rossi better?! Well, maybe, maybe not - you would hope for, and expect, incremental improvement season to season.

The problem was one of improvement rates - the Hondas and Yamaha had the development headroom (and money) to continue improvement from the 2010 to the 2011 season and the the Ducati simply didn't - they also spent the season testing for the 2012 1000cc bikes.
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Cookie32
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   Posted 1/6/2012 2:29 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
The one thing seperating Stoner and Rossi in respect to thier times on the Duke, is Stoner rarely got beaten by other riders on the Italian brand, and only did so when he crashed out.
So maybe the point that Rossi is only in a testing mode, till the 1000's come out, makes sense. Just a pity he kept shooting off about he was going to fix all the dramas left from Stoner.
Come to think of it, Honda could of been planning a simular idea in gaining Stoner into thier japanese camp for "testing", and had thought they could rely on Pedro finally bringing home the bacon, coming off the back of his end of 2010 results. (and probably should of.)
Racer1 said...
  • Cookie32 said...
    As for Rossi, he only proved two things, that the Dukes are not only dogs to ride, but how good of a rider Stoner really is. Rossi still has, and always will, have a thorn in his side- Casey Stoner.


i actually agree with this - I do think Stoner is the class of the field at the moment.

There is one point that is being constantly overlooked and missed though in these posts... Everyone is saying that Stoner was an amazing rider to tame the Ducati, that Rossi now must realize how hard it is to ride the Ducati and how talented Stoner was, etc. etc. BUT.... Rossi's lap times and elapsed race times on the Ducati consistently beat Stoners times from the previous year - if that's "how good of a rider Stoner really is" then isn't Rossi better?! Well, maybe, maybe not - you would hope for, and expect, incremental improvement season to season.

The problem was one of improvement rates - the Hondas and Yamaha had the development headroom (and money) to continue improvement from the 2010 to the 2011 season and the the Ducati simply didn't - they also spent the season testing for the 2012 1000cc bikes.
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Racer1
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   Posted 1/6/2012 7:11 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Cookie32 said...
The one thing seperating Stoner and Rossi in respect to thier times on the Duke, is Stoner rarely got beaten by other riders on the Italian brand, and only did so when he crashed out. .


Opinions are one thing - the facts are another thing entirely....

"Stoner rarely got beaten by other riders on the Italian brand, and only did so when he crashed out."

Well let's see - out of 18 races in 2010 Stoner won 3. He crashed out of 5 races (due, no doubt, to his mastery of the Ducati) and was therefore "beaten by other riders" in precisely 10 of the races - "only when he crashed out"??

I know that this is America and we should never let the facts get in the way of a nice opinion, but c'mon!

As an aside - Rossi came 3rd in the season (to Stoner's 4th) despite breaking his leg - a DNS is a completely different thing to a DNF.

I'm no fanboy, but the facts and reality are being distorted horrendously here.
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RedDog
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   Posted 1/12/2012 9:28 AM (GMT -7)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
thesoapster said...
Sucks that you cannot, RD. WSBK is much more competitive! Ducati does well there, too.


I can always see it on Speed, but I am too spoiled to really take the liking to this Speed thing.


RedDog
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