motogpmd wrote: So you rate Capirossi, Melandri and Hayden in 2006 at the same level as Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa now? If so, I strongly disagree with you on that! Stoner basically destroyed the MotoGP careers of Capirossi and Melandri in 2007 and 2008, just one year and two years after 2006. Those two didn't suddenly lose their abilities in a year or so. Capirossi, Melandri, Hayden and Dovisioso are/were good riders at a similar level, but not great. There is just one MotoGP crown between them, and even then Hayden barely scraped in after Rossi and Yamaha had a bad year for reasons you mention. Edwards has never won a single MotoGP race, despite spending a couple of seasons on the works Yamaha, and Elias won just a single race. BTW Stoner started in MotoGP in 2006, so he wasn't racing in 2005, as you seem to be saying. Dani was also a rookie in 2006. Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa are the first riders ever to be able to consistently challenge and beat Rossi over a number of seasons. In short, 2006 had one alien, 2011 had four (although Rossi wasn't a factor for reasons that we all know). So 2011 had a much stronger top three than 2006.
Certainly watching Capirossi in Brno 2006 and then in the following year one has to say he didn't have the same confidence in riding. I tend look at the riders' performance in a certain year within a context, how well their equipment suited them in that year. In 2006 Capirossi was certainly in the current Alien-level, without the crash in Catalunya he would have very likely won the title with a bike not the match of Honda. Melandri not quite as good, but I said Dani was about the same level and Casy ,6 % below his current, but hindered by his equipment and inability to adjust to the Michelins. Rossi of course was far far superior rider than he is today.
I never said Stoner was in Motogp in '05, but that he caught up with Dani in the 250 battle towards the end of the season before crashing from the lead in PI. Also meant Dani was a 3-time reigning champ of the lower classes coming iin (125 in '03 and 250 the following years), which gave him great confidence in '06. Did I remember smth wrong?
Capirossi has never been an alien, sorry. Just imagine what Stoner could have achieved on that 990 Ducati. Pedrosa and Stoner were both rookies in 2006. What Pedrosa achieved in 250s is irrelevant to MotoGP, history will tell you that. So many very successful championship winning 250 riders failed in MotoGP (in the sense of not winning a MotoGP championship), e.g. Capirossi, Melandri, Biaggi and others if you go back in history. Also, even the best riders struggle in their rookie years on MotoGP, even Rossi struggled at first, and he had the best of everything. And Stoner didn't have an inability to adapt to Michelins, he was forced to use Michelin's slower standard off-the-shelf tires, while the works riders like Rossi had the Michelin specials. Stoner was just pushing too hard trying to make up the performance gap in his tires, a rookie mistake, but understandable for a guy with so much self-belief.
There is no evidence whatever that Rossi is a lesser rider today than in 2006. I cannot understand why anyone thinks that one of the greatest riders now in his early thirties is suddenly a lesser rider than six years ago. He should be at the height of his powers as a rider. He did "ok" in 2008 and 2009, and was still winning races in 2010, despite injuries. He didn't suddenly lose it in 2011. Rossi's current problem, by his own admission, is that he needs a strong front end, something the Ducati most definitely hasn't had. Rossi was frank enough to admit that he knew after just three laps on the Ducati at Valencia in 2010 that he was in deep trouble. Every rider has limits and at Ducati Rossi found his. That doesn't make him a lesser rider now, just human, a great rider still, a rider who believes he can still mix it with Stoner and Lorenzo on the right bike, a rider with his great strengths still intact, but a rider with certain weaknesses exposed by Ducati. But some fans want to believe that Rossi is somehow a lesser rider than he was, instead of accepting that even great riders have weaknesses, something that Agostini recently acknowledged, when he compared himself and his style of riding to Rossi, while he compared Stoner's ability to ride anything fast to Hailwood.