2015 Jerez MotoGP Friday Round Up: How Rossi And Lorenzo Took Different Tire Strategies, And Why Stoner Was Snubbed

The Circuito de Velocidad in Jerez is not just a single circuit, it is three. It is a highly abrasive, very grippy track in the wet. It is a grippy, flowing track in the dry, when track temperatures are below around 35°C. And it is a treacherous, greasy, low-grip track when it is above 40°C. It didn't rain today (nor will it for the rest of the weekend) and so we only got to see two of the three tracks on Friday. But boy were they different.

Different or not, the same man ended both MotoGP sessions at the top of the timesheets. In the cool of the morning, when track temps were low and grip high, Lorenzo went out and dominated, hammering out a string of low 1'39s, well below the lap record pace. In the afternoon, the Movistar Yamaha man took his time, experimenting with then discounting the harder of the two tire options, before putting the soft back in and running another string of mid 1'39s, five of which were better than Marc Márquez' second fastest lap. It felt like the real Jorge Lorenzo was back.

Was Lorenzo's down solely to the fact that he was running the medium tire, where others were struggling to make the hard tire work for race distance? To an extent, but that is to misunderstand Lorenzo's intention. The Movistar Yamaha man believes he will be able to race the softer of the two tires, that tire being better for the Yamaha over race distance. It is better because of the way Bridgestone have changed the allocation this year, widely hailed as an improvement. For all three tires – the medium and hard for Yamaha and Honda, the soft and medium for the rest – the compounds have been changed slightly, going just a fraction harder. That has left everyone with two viable choices of tire for the race, the option of endurance with the hard, or early speed and a more predictable drop.

For Lorenzo the choice is clear. The hard rear tire was supposed to be the same as last year, but it simply was not giving the same feeling. "It spins a lot in all the corners, especially on the left," he said. The compound was supposed to be the same on the right hand side of the tire, but that felt different too, Lorenzo said. "It doesn't give you the same confidence as the soft. A lot of spinning from the first lap, also coming worse and worse." The soft tire was, in Lorenzo's opinion, the tire of choice for the race. "The softer one is much better for the spinning. Obviously after some laps it arrives, but even after eight, ten laps, it's better grip than the first lap of the hard."

Bradley Smith concurred. "I think the soft is good to race. I mean it’s going to move around a little bit but it grips. The hard tire moves around but it doesn’t even grip. I’d rather have a bit more movement and have grip than have a more stable bike and not do the lap times. It’s clear it can do the race no problem." Smith expects two drops in tire performance over the course of the race, and the rider who manages that best will be the man to win. Finding the right set up would be key, he said. "If you can work out a setting to get just the one that’s where you’re really going to make a difference. With such high speed corners you have to be so careful to keep that entry grip, to keep the side grip and drive grip. You’ve got to keep the speed. There isn’t two ways to ride this track. There are other tracks that when the tire drops you can brake a little bit deeper, point and squirt. But you spend so much time here on the side. If that goes away you’re a sitting duck."

So will all the Yamaha men be racing the softer tire? "I hope no!" Pol Espargaro protested. "Jorge is really fast with this tire but me not. In the end I hope everyone use the extra hard front and rear because with this type of tire we are really good. The rhythm was good, consistent and the confidence with the bike is really good. Maybe tomorrow we have to test the soft tire and see what is the plan for the race."

Valentino Rossi was equally skeptical, preferring to follow the tactic which worked so well for him in Argentina. Rossi spent most of the day searching for a set up which will work with the hard rear tire, and allow him to be competitive for most of the race. Rossi's problem with the hard rear was similar to his teammate's, the rear was simply spinning too much, and not providing forward motion. But the Italian appears to be chasing set up for the hard, and using the medium solely as a qualifier. He needs to find something, but the success he had in Argentina leaves him feeling optimistic.

Over in Honda, the hard tire appears to be the best option. Marc Márquez was convinced that was the tire he will be racing, though he too has some work to do to improve grip in the greasy conditions. But those are conditions which the Honda handles well, and so he will not be too disconcerted by it. What he is finding distracting is the pain in his little finger. It is ironic that such a small and seemingly insignificant bone should cause such serious problems. Márquez rode a few weeks after breaking his leg at the start of last year, yet that did not slow him down. You do not use your legs as much riding a motorcycle, however. Certainly nowhere near as much as you use your fingers. Márquez has a slim, carbon-fiber brace piece taped to his finger, to help protect and support the little finger. He has specially made gloves from Alpinestars, with the little finger widened just large enough to allow him to fit his finger plus brace inside it. And he has a modified handlebar grip, made broader, allowing him to grip the bars without bending his little finger so much.

Márquez rode without painkillers on Friday, often the preferred option for racers. Painkillers can dull the senses, and cause a little bit of wooziness, just enough to take the edge off the hyper focus motorcycle racers need to be competitive. Pain can distract, but it can also help concentrate the mind, so they prefer to have the pain and hope to cope with it. The question Márquez was worried about was not so much the pain he was having, as how his injured finger would react overnight. Injured bones can sometimes respond to being loaded with swelling and inflammation, and that would make riding truly difficult. As it was, Márquez said, he was waiting for Saturday, and what a night's rest would bring.

Actually riding was not as bad as anticipated, though Márquez was suffering both in hard braking and in acceleration. Fortunately, Jerez is mostly right handers, putting less strain on his injured left finger. How the finger will react over race distance is another question altogether. Clearly, Márquez' injury has not had that much impact on his raw speed. It is his endurance which is something to worry about.

Cal Crutchlow is also suffering, though he managed to put his suffering, and that of all motorcycle racers, into some kind of perspective. "My physical condition isn’t the best. I’ve had the flu. I actually got it on Wednesday so I feel a bit ****," Crutchlow said. "You look at it on the grand scheme of things I have the cold and the flu but I’m still here and I can still ride a motorbike. On the other side of the world there are 6,000 people that can’t do anything." The tragedy in Nepal is a stark reminder that breaking bones or getting ill is far from the worst thing that can happen to you.

While the Yamaha was strong in the cool of the morning, and the Honda strong in the heat of the afternoon, the Ducati now appears to work whatever the conditions it finds itself in. Andrea Dovizioso was fourth fastest both in the morning and in the afternoon, the bike responding well to whatever the weather threw at it. The Italian was delighted to be so quick, and to have the bike work well at a circuit which has traditionally been Ducati's bogey track. The bike was good on corner entry, it was turning very well. It worked well in the morning, it worked well in the afternoon. The only problem is whether they can get the tires to last, an issue which everybody faces. But this was yet another confirmation that the Ducati Desmosedici GP15 has speed everywhere, and is a far more capable bike. Gigi Dall'Igna has produced a machine that has gone from being fatally flawed to the best machine on the grid. Impressive work for just a single season.

The Suzuki isn't too bad either. Aleix Espargaro was delighted that Suzuki had found a solution to the chatter which had plagued the bike after a few laps. The issue was not actually chatter, but more an undamped vibration from the tire, one which also only appeared on the right hand side of the bike. Espargaro was incredulous when he heard what the solution to the issue was, replacing a very cheap part with one with different damping qualities. Though no one would speak directly, there are good reasons to suspect the cush drive, which was vibrating at the same frequency as the tire.

Those with a long memory will remember the RC213V in 2012, when the bike had to cope with extra weight. That, too, had a vibration on the right of the bike, Casey Stoner explaining that the problem was solved by changing "a $2 part". Sometimes, it is the small things which count.

Casey Stoner's name was dropped a lot during a press conference held by HRC, featuring HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto, and Repsol Honda team principal Livio Suppo. Billed as a chance to discuss the Repsol Honda team's progress so far in 2015, the atmosphere between the HRC managers and the media soon grew very chilly indeed. The Honda pairing faced question after question about Dani Pedrosa, and why Casey Stoner had not been brought in to replace him while he recovered from surgery. The answer was always the same: no chance to give Stoner the test he needed to get himself up to speed and embedded with a completely new crew. Surely, the press insisted, there had been plenty of time for Stoner to fit in a test at some time. No, Suppo and Nakamoto insisted, there was no time, and the testing program was so full this year that there would be no time for him to test for the rest of the season. If Stoner were to come back, then the earliest he could come back would be next year. Rightly or wrongly, that statement was met with a great deal of skepticism on the side of the press.

Suppo and Nakamoto were also asked about rumors of Dorna having blocked a Stoner wildcard at Phillip Island in 2013. Both Nakamoto and Suppo dismissed this out of hand. "Bull****," said Suppo.

The pair dodged questions of what would happen if Pedrosa were to be out for longer, by insisting they were optimistic that this would not happen. Whether they have plans in place for this contingency or not, they refused to reveal them. In the short term, Hiroshi Aoyama will continue to fill in for Pedrosa. In the long term? At the moment, there is no long term.

After the press conference, a few journalists stood and asked Suppo and Nakamoto a few more questions. That provided some interesting information, though not directly linked to the question of Pedrosa. Asked whether HRC was unhappy with Márquez having made mistakes at both Qatar and Austin, Nakamoto insisted the problem at Qatar had not been a mistake by Márquez, but a mechanical issue which had caused him to miss the corner, running into other riders and dropping to the back of the pack. Nakamoto refused to say what the issue was, but two of the paddock's most respected journalists from Spain and Italy tried to get them to admit it was a problem with the clutch. Given the description of the problem, they were probably right.

They also spent a few words on new riders inside Honda's fold. Jack Miller's performance so far had been a little disappointing, Nakamoto said, but what was positive was that he was open-minded and listening to the people around him, and keen to learn. Scott Redding had also not been performing as expected, but they hoped the new chassis would help. Redding's chassis was physically different to the other Honda frames, to cope with the Englishman's giant frame. It should give him the range of adjustment other riders have, without compromising because of his height.

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Many thanks for the report David.

What is it impossible for riders or their teams to admit that they are fallible and sometimes make mistakes? Even in the Rossi/Marquez clash a couple of weeks ago, it seemed impossible for Marquez or HRC to admit he made a tiny error. Personally I'd have more respect for Marquez if he showed any humility and admitted some errors, bot this year and the previous incidents he was involved in, especially the potentially life changing clash with Wilairot. From memory he didn't apologise or admit any culpability for that incident (I even remember his team contesting the qualifying penalty he received).

Do riders and teams really believe their own publicity and aura around them? The smoke blowing from journo's and fans doesn't help. He's a racer, exceptionally gifted and possesses more talent in his damaged finger than I do in my whole body, but that doesn't make him an 'alien' (please stop using that word everyone, it's tired and cliched). He has fears, he makes mistakes. That goes for all of them, Rossi, Lorenzo, Crutchlow.

It is also possible to separate admiration for someones's abilities on a bike and a dislike of their public persona. I say that because whenever someone's chosen rider is criticised for something they do, out come the comments about how good they are. I think Rossi is amazing, but he is a machiavellian and I'd not want to be on his wrong side.

Stoner....why don't HRC want him riding Pedrosa's bike? Simple. He would be a threat to Marquez. It's a long season and Marquez can still win this. A run of good results, a DNF for Rossi and the others and suddenly he's within spitting distance of a 3rd title. With Pedrosa effectively out of any running for the title, he'd have to accept whatever HRC told him. Stoner though? Do you think he'd accept being to not finish in front of Marquez. And if a rider who'd been retired for a few years came back and beat the new Golden Child, do you think Repsol OR Dorna would want that? Especially the rider who was so critical of Dorna and its policies and dynamics. I can't see it happening, no matter what the press try to stir up.

I know Stoner offered to come back, but have you seen any of his family snaps with wife and child? He's living the Australian dream, fishing, boating, dirt bike riding, with enough money to ensure he never has to work again and a beautiful family who love him. Why on Earth would he want to come back to a place that he so famously hated?

Why on Earth would he want to come back to a place that he so famously hated?

Because nothing compares to the thrill of what happens after the flag drops on race day....even when you hate the mechanism that produces it. And when you don't get a dose big enough to fill the void, eventually you start jonesin' a bit.

I agree, this is an excellent report, incorporating all the relevant news, tons of analysis, and even paddock rumors. I just fail to understand the several "voters" who rate it 1 star. I mean, what are those guys reading somewhere else that makes David's report look bad? I've searched the web for English-language MptpGP reports... and there aren't any that come close to Motomatters. I wish readers who feel the reports might come up short had the balls to say why they think that. If not, they shouldn't be taken seriously, IMO.

Thanks David, for your typically insightful analysis. Great to see Jorge back up at the pointy end; hopefully a good showing at Jerez will help him get his mojo back and add him into the mix for an already exciting title battle. He may not have the charisma of Rossi and Marquez but he's a beautiful rider and almost unbeatable when on a track that suits him. But the arrival of Marquez shattered his former cocksure self-belief, and now Rossi is rampant too. Maybe Jerez will see the return of the old Jorge and give us even more action on the track than we've had already.

Another under-performer so far in my opinion has been Andrea Iannone. He's finishing races well and high in the points but I didn't expect him to be so consistently out-gunned by Dovizioso. Iannone is a real talent, an exciting rider who revels in the cut and thrust of overtaking battles, but he's been strangely muted in the races to date - almost as if he's under instructions to play it safe. Or perhaps his hard charging style is less suited to the new Ducati than Dovi's smooth approach. I hope Crazy Joe comes out to play soon - without causing any crashes!

Further down the pecking order, it was interesting you elicited a public admission of slight disappointment from Nakamoto about Redding and Miller. I feel the same, as do many others. I really expected Scott and Jack to be shining brighter by now. Everyone knows how talented they are, yet they both appear to be struggling to adapt to their different Hondas. Jack did well in Argentina and Scott showed a flash of pace at Austin before embarrassingly throwing it away on the first lap in a rush of adrenaline. I hope Jerez starts to see them show what they are capable of. Can't wait for the race!

Is Miller's start really so bad? Remember that he's on the open class Honda, he's only had 3 races on it, and last year he was racing a moto3 bike. He's made some mistakes, but he's currently beating his team mate (the one that everyone suggested should get a ride on Dani's bike), and he's beating both of the forward Yamaha bikes (the ones that Aleix convincingly showed to be the top open class bikes last year) - even though one of them is ridden by a moto2 world champ who's had multiple years in motogp.

It won't be easy, you'll think it strange,
When I try to explain how I feel,
That I need a win after all that's been done,
You have to believe me,
All I can see is a champion I once I knew,
Although my points add up to thirty six,
It should be at least fifty and a few.

I had let it happen, I had to change,
Shouldn't have let him hit my front wheel,
looking back at it now, stayed out of the way,
So I choose racing,
Running wide, trying every line,
But he hit my front wheel,
I never expected him to.

Don't cry for me in Argentina,
The truth is you went and hit me,
Although you said sorry,
I'm still mad at you,
I'll keep my promise,
I'll beat you from a distance

And as for fortune, and as for fame,
I wanted them as much as you,
It would seem to the world that it's all you desire,
You can't be serious,
They're not that important in a race,
The answer is clean racing,
I hope you will stop running into me.

Don't cry for me in Argentina,
The truth is I ride a Honda,
You have a Yamaha,
And I will beat you,
That's my promise,
Just keep your distance.

Didn't he just finish as top open class rider, or was that someone else in Parc ferme with the rostrum getters? That would seem to be a reasonable effort for someone straight out of Moto3! What happened to not putting pressure on the kid too early lol.

As for the Stoner not riding justification, the smell of BS is heavy. He clearly would have been doing a hell of a lot better than Hiroshi, and this would have been Stoner's third race which would have meant he was getting up to speed even without testing. Clearly there are political reasons inside Repsol for not wanting somebody with Stoner's status replacing Dani. Whether it's Alzamora not wanting his boy destabilised or even Puig pulling some strings for Dani, Nakamoto's reasoning just doesn't stack up.

I saw an interview with Lucio where he stated his expectation was that Miller would be the top Open class rider by midway through the season. Seems the HRC hierarchy have a different set of goalposts.

As for Stoner, has he not already tested for them this year in his role as a test rider for next years bike? They are changing the story anyway, as the initial reason was because they couldn't put his team back together. There is something they aren't telling us.

I guess I don't see what Honda have to complain about with Miller. Not only did he come directly from Moto3, but he's riding the RC213V-RS. Do they really expect him (or anybody) to be challenging for podiums--or even the top 10--on that bike?

No doubt there are aspects of his performance I haven't the faintest clue about, and maybe that's what they're referring to. Still, I guess I'm just surprised that there would be any public criticism at all, given that all the pre-season interviews seemed to stress that this was a learning season, etc.

I too am confused by the (gentle) criticism, he just beat everyone else using the same software in only his third race, including a former world champ on the same bike!?! I guess HRC management is a tough crowd. :) One can only surmise that Nakamoto thinks the RS is good enough to be up and beating the lesser satellite bikes if there's a truly prodigious talent on board.

Re Stoner, is it just me who calls BS to the stories of him being 2 seconds off the pace? 2 seconds?? To back off even 0.2 seconds is a lot for a top rider, half a second is taking it easy, two seconds is positively cruising. I believe that stat about as much as I believed the RCV1000R was only 0.3s off the 213V. :D HRC Doublespeak.

The end result though is that Marquez has no support at all, and only the hope of a resurgent Lorenzo and the continually improving Ducatis to take points away from Rossi.

Looking forward to the race, glad to see Jerez still on the calendar after looking shaky for a while. It's such a great track!

I am just hatching a conspiracy theory just for the fun of it. I think Honda have a pretty good idea as to what state Dani Pedrosa's arm is in. By denying continuously that Stoner is not making a comeback this season as a sub for Pedrosa, Honda could be buying time and asking Stoner to work on his fitness and speed and put him in the saddle if Pedrosa's prognosis says he cannot ride this season. Honda are known to play mind games. The other possibility is that Casey Stoner turned his back on MotoGP after winning a championship on a Honda and so are miffed with him. Maybe they wanted him to continue with him and he did not. It called also be Shuhei Nakamoto believes to invest in someone who would be with the company over a long period of time (Aoyama will fit the bill but I am sure Nakamoto is not looking for a rider who will circulate with the rear end of a group) than get someone who might again simply say "Thank you, I had enough". Maybe the comment about Jack Miller being a disappointment had something to do with the fact that he has not shown the ability yet to jump on to Pedrosa's machine. That could be consistent with the investment in the future theory.

Honda told him to focus on the 8 hour. Considering they made room in a team that have won the last two, perhaps they want the most our of him and his focus there first and foremost.

To be fair, room was 'made' because Haslam finally had a chance to ride a decent bike in WSBK.

“[He would need] at least one test. Realistically if we need Casey he comes back next year. Not this year because we have no time.

There's this thing going on Monday....after the race.

I believe it's called a test day.

Not. Sure. If. He. Really. Thought. We. Wouldn't. Catch. That.

HRC has highsided with the amount of spin they're trying to pull off. CS just did a test in January, and has another scheduled on Monday after the race.

One thing's clear, they want Stoner to stay far away from MotoGP for the rest of this season. All we can do now is try and understand why they would want that, from HRC's perspective.

In all likelihood it is because Stoner is quick, and he cannot be controlled via team orders. If he's faster than Marquez at certain tracks, you can bet he'll beat him regardless of what Livio and Nakamoto have to say. Dani on the other hand is a company man, and will back off and let MM take a win at Phillip Island if it means him getting the championship.

The reason why fans love stoner is precisely the reason HRC are wary of him:

He's a loose cannon. A rogue. A scoundrel.

A person of such character does not make a good investment for a conservative Japanese corporation (as a support rider).

Stoner needs to get on the phone with Ducati.

Time to go to Yamaha and become the only man to win a premier title on three different bikes, an achievement befitting of his talent

Comments here have reached an all new level

All the Stoner rumors are starting to get to me! Broke my heart when he announced retirement and now we've had 3 years of "is Casey gonna wildcard/test/comeback?!?!" Just can't take it anymore.
So now that it is subject AGAIN I have to completely agree, the only thing better than Casey racing again... would be Casey racing a Ducati!

Changing the subject and just a small correction - "You do not use your legs as much riding a motorcycle". For normal riding no but moving around like these guys do means having to lift yourself almost out of the seat.

A race bike seat gets used on the straights, the rest of the time the riders legs are supporting their weight one way or another. It's a weird gymnastic type of leg strength you need to move yourself around on a race bike without your weight upsetting the chassis, very tough to do.

To those who think HRC are scared of Stoner beating Marquez... Let's keep it in perspective, Marc has already achieved more World Championships than Casey (4 to 2), he has achieved in the premier class in 2 years what it took Casey 7 years.

This is in no way downplaying Stoner, I think you guys need to realise how good Marc is. Remember, Marc's achievement has been against the same competition, the guy is so much better than you seem to want to allow yourselves to believe.

Marc will not be scared of Casey, full stop.

But HRCs current reasoning for not letting Stoner race is strange at best. As for the titles and so forth, Stoner was the only rider capable of achieving those results on a Ducati, as even the most ardent Rossi supporter now knows. At Honda, Stoner's win rate was 48%. Compare that to 17% for Pedrosa. Marquez's win rate is a phenomenal 51% at present, but Stoner vs Marquez is far from a forgone conclusion which is why so many GP fans are frothing at the thought, and so disappointed in Mr Nakamoto right now.

Anyone who thinks Stoner would trouble the current top ten is more than a little wrapped in nostalgia and/or fanaticism, lets face it he was beaten in 2012 in his prime by Dani and Jorge-injury or not he wasn't winning that title despite being on the best bike, and neither of those two can hold a candle to Marc this season or last (Dani based on Qatar-arm pump or not), let alone the current championship leader who looks to be in the form of his rather illustrious career-which should say enough.

The focus on Casey Stoner is utterly ridiculous, we have a fantastic season on our hands with more talent and great machinery than we've seen for while, I don't blame Shoei and Livio for getting shitty with the continuous harping about Stoner-Do the Journos want him back for a better headline or something? As we know he would certainly give them plenty of ammunition, seems as though they want him back for some payback after all the crap he's sprouted about the sport and the people around it for the last few years. I feel HRC knows he would melt-down at the first press conference

I'm looking forward to the 2015 Jerez round, should be great without Casey Stoner. And I'm also looking forward to not having to read anymore about Casey Stoner. The guy left the sport, hated the sport/media/promo which gave him millions and now he wants to come back because he seems to still be craving the attention, I'm not a fan at all. HRC, Yamaha and Ducati needs to focus on bringing great young talent through that aren't so confused and delicate-that's the future.

Sttrain, a great post. I vote 10 stars to you. We are having an EPIC season of racing, and all we can do is bitch about it??? Come on guys, enjoy this epic show.

You don't have to love Stoner, but you at least have to admit it would be more interesting having him out there rather than Aoyama running around in 13th or whatever. All respect to Hiroshi but there's a reason he's a test rider rather than factory Repsol rider.

"injury or not"?

So you're saying that the whole broken ankle thing, that massive high side at Indy in 2012, where he missed 3 races after the surgery, did not have an effect on his 2012 championship campaign?


By the way, if you're trying to make an opinionated argument, try and leave your personal context out of it. Or wait, just don't make one.

I'm all for 2015 being great. Hell, we have a competitive Dovi on a Duc, a Suzuki that might get in the top 5 in Jerez. A resurgent Rossi, and a 22 year old that seems to be unstoppably determined to win. But to dismiss one of the top talents (#1 in davids book prior to the "rise of Marc") simply because you have a personal dissatisfaction with the guy, is not helpful to any constructive argument.

Im also wondering through which hallucinogen you formulated the opinion that Casey wants back because of the attention.

You did not have to end your post with I am not a Casey Stoner fan, Sir Sttrain, the tenor of the post did tell us that. I too am not a Casey Stoner fan (the reasons are unnecessary so I won't go into them) but I believe that respect should be given where it is due. Any which way you look it Casey Stoner is an exceptional talent (I am not saying he is the only one like that) and the present grid despite its talent can do with some more or perhaps a lot more. Casey Stoner would be a welcome addition to the grid. I probably will not be too happy if he wins, but I will definitely respect that and say to myself "wow, he comes back after so many years and wins it". If he doesn't win the position that he finishes in will tell me how to think of him. Dear Sir, we as people are entitled to our opinions, there is no denying that, but that entitlement has its limitations. One of the most important limitations is that you cannot disrespect someone's ability just because we are not someone's fans.

You did not have to end your post with I am not a Casey Stoner fan, Sir Sttrain, the tenor of the post did tell us that. I too am not a Casey Stoner fan (the reasons are unnecessary so I won't go into them) but I believe that respect should be given where it is due. Any which way you look it Casey Stoner is an exceptional talent (I am not saying he is the only one like that) and the present grid despite its talent can do with some more or perhaps a lot more. Casey Stoner would be a welcome addition to the grid. I probably will not be too happy if he wins, but I will definitely respect that and say to myself "wow, he comes back after so many years and wins it". If he doesn't win the position that he finishes in will tell me how to think of him. Dear Sir, we as people are entitled to our opinions, there is no denying that, but that entitlement has its limitations. One of the most important limitations is that you cannot disrespect someone's ability just because we are not someone's fans.

It's happend before, where great rider tallent has masked deficiencies of a bike. Honda had "lost there way" decades ago under similar circumstances, and more recently Ducati seemed to struggle to find a bike that could be set up and work with more than one rider.

Are Honda finding themselves in a similar fate once again.? Statements that expect performance from the other riders rather than working with them, makes me certainly feel they are standing on the verge of that slippery slope once again...

Short memory. The Honda was a slow, tiny turd for a couple of years starting in 2007.

Crutchlow got on the podium with it last time out, and I'm sure a fit Pedrosa would be a podium contender on the current machine also. It's a good bike.