Gustav O wrote:
sir_nj wrote:I have little doubt that Rossi/Burgess can make the bike a knife fighter (as you put it). To me the question is can they do it before the beginning of the season? Interestingly, any major chassis changes will elevate Casey's riding skills to being even more rarified.
Not necessarily. Just because the bike seemingly doesn´t fit one guy it might fit another one just fine. I am not trying to take anything away from Stoner, just giving another pov maybe.
Of course, rarified
does not always equate to better
- just less common. I certainly wasn't trying to suggest in that post that Rossi had, in any way, simply said 'holy crap, this thing can't be ridden fast' - simply that, as Gustav has said, he found it very much contrary to what he wants and knows he can be successful on.
The conclusion I drew was intended to be more on the lines of, having established that the basic character of the bike was certainly not 'a bike that Rossi can ride like Rossi', he didn't panic nor waste time trying to see just what it could do, because the situation that presented itself to him (and I stress, to him
, since I think we all feel that Ducati has effectively promised to do 'whatever it takes' to give him a bike on which he can win a championship) was not a dead end.
In that respect, had
Rossi gotten the thing up towards the respectable end of the timesheet - as, by comparison, de Puniet has done in the same situation - there is a fair likelihood that Ducati would have held out that tweaks were all that is necessary. Rossi and JB are not insulated from the news, and we all heard/saw Stoner's comments that Ducati works on a 'run what they brung' to the first tests of the new season modus operandi, also the 'just dig a bit deeper, Casey' comments from Ducati. I feel sure that had the thing been from Rossi's perspective at least in the ballpark, he'd have pushed much harder.
I also don't believe that Rossi and JB came to the tests with the scenario that played out firmly established as the way they were going to play the thing so as to reprise 2004. However, I strongly suspect that they both had it in the back of their minds that this was an option
- and why wouldn't they? The Rossi + JB move to Yamaha in '04 is THE legendary story of gp racing in the first decade of the new millenium. As JB said, in effect: 'you don't hire someone for $15m and then not give him the bike to do the job'.
As far as what played out enhancing Stoner's reputation as a rider, I suggest that it probably does - but I doubt that Rossi had any real 'illusions' in that regard, the odd little nose-tweaking comment notwithstanding. Rossi knows that, short of a comprehensive dismantling of Stoner's achievments on the Ducati by blowing his best time out of the water, there's nowt he can do about that. While race wins are an important measure of capability to the cognoscenti of gp racing, WC's are what the general public remember and revere - and rightly so. 'Would have - could have' arguments are fun for a small proportion of race fans, but the name on the year's results is etched in silver.