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Old 10-23-2002, 10:54 AM   #41
rsheidler
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Default Not Quite That Simple

>>Honda has implied Nicky Hayden is America's best chance at a MotoGP champion and that Edwards is the one who needs to prove himself<<



As you no doubt have noted, I have been on your side of this discussion; however I must disagree with the above statement.



Joe Mamma is certainly correct that politics plays a major factor in deciding who gets what rides. Since sponsors foot the bills, they realistically want to have a say in who gets chosen, for their PR value (as it relates to whatever you are selling) as well as riding ability. It would be totally unrealistic to think that rider selection is a perfect meritocracy, any more than are tenure decisions at a major university, or promotions at a big law firm or Fortune 500 company.



Whether in corporate life or GP racing, nobody succeeds for long by hiring/promoting incompetents. On the other hand, when one is chosing from amongst a group of highly qualified candidates, the final decision often is not to select the candidate who is absolute best in purely objective terms -- usually soft intangibles, image or simply personal chemistry are what ultimately tip the scales. For another GP example, I would cite Yamaha's decision to let Biaggi go, while keeping Checa (whether they "let" Max leave on his own accord or whether he was pushed out is unclear). I think one would be hard pressed to find anyone not personally related to Checa who would seriously argue that he is a superior rider to Max. Max did have a reputation of being "difficult" however.



In this case, Nicky had a couple other things going for him that Colin did not. First, he is more charismatic (especially to a non-core fan audience) -- he is a PR agents wet dream. Second, he has had the strong support of Honda USA. Colin started in WSB on Yamaha, switching to Honda when Yamaha pulled out. His significant Honda victories have been in Europe. Outside of a few hard core fans, I bet his following in Europe is greater than here. Honda USA have never really bonded with him, and they have made little or no attempt to capitalize on his WSB success. I think the late offer of a RCV/Bridgestone ride came out of pressure from Europe rather than from the US.



Honda USA have invested huge $$ in Nicky and they were not about to let him slip away to Yamaha. From what I hear, it was their pressure that forced Honda to offer him the seat alongside Rossi. I don't think it had anything to do with whether they thought he had better or worse championship potential than Colin.
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Old 10-23-2002, 11:06 AM   #42
rsheidler
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Default Re: Let's Change the subject!!!

Yeah!



My 17-year-old daughter (who is a casual fan) and my wife (who is not at all a fan) were glued to the screen.



Race in and race out, I think that 125 and 250 GP consistantly produce some of the best racing. The racing is very close, and nobody (not even Melandri) has run away with the series like Rossi did in MotoGP.



Of course, the last few MotoGPs have also been extremely exciting.



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Old 10-23-2002, 11:31 AM   #43
rsheidler
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Default Rossi

>>rossi is still a class above teh rest<<



No doubt! What Rossi has is balance -- he excels in almost every facet of racing. He is very fast, but not always fastest. Look how many times he has qualified 2nd, 3rd or even slower, and yet come back to win, how many times he has been back in second or third at mid-race, only to force a mistake by his opponents, or catch them on the last lap. His race tactics are exceptional.



Also his ability to race in any kind of conditions, and on a wide range of machinery. A 125 Aprilia is a far different bike from a RCV Honda, requiring very different techniques, but he has adapted to each bike extremely quickly and proven he was best each time. If he decides to go race rally cars in a couple of years, my bet is that he will quickly win there too. Hell, I wouldn't bet against him if he sent racing trucks! Or bicycles!



Your comments about Americans coming to Europe to race have some validity. Clearly this contributed to Ben Bostrom's less than stellar season in WSB, and he is apparently very happy to return to the US. I hate to generalize, but typically, Americans do not adapt as well to like abroad as do others. I lived in Switzerland for 5 years, working for a big international company. They always had a hard time finding Americans willing to take foreign assignments, or staying if the did take the assignment. Whether this will be a factor for Nicky Hayden, I don't know -- I hope he does well, but we'll see.
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Old 10-23-2002, 12:50 PM   #44
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Default Re: Not Quite That Simple

Personally, I think Honda should have given Edwards an equal opportunity, but they didn't. I know I am reading between the lines here, but assuming Honda couldn't workout another RC211/Michelin bike combo. Who in Honda's 2003 MotoGP lineup should give their seat up to Edwards? Hayden, would have probably been on the bubble, but Honda stuck with him because, in my opinion, they saw more untapped potential in him.



Everybody wants to find the next Rossi. Established stars like Edwards are just that. Edwards is a known quantity to Honda. They HAVE spent huge $$ on him to find this out: one bike factory WSBK team, several Suzuka 8 hour factory rides (which only Honda's favorites get). I wish I knew the lap times from Suzuka. Since Honda does, they know how he compares to Rossi, Kato, and the other Honda proteges on equal bikes. I can only respect their rider opinions.



Take a look at F1 car racing, the Raikonen/Heidfeld choice at McLaren. They are digging into the young untapped talent to find the next Schumacher. No difference here.



I also think no amount of money will buy a rider onto a Honda RC211 at the moment. It is not their customer bike. Just like several years ago, when a Honda customer would get their 500cc twin, not the 4 cyl NSR.

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Old 10-23-2002, 01:59 PM   #45
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Default Re: Not Quite That Simple

Excellent post. I think you are right on about Hayden vs Edwards. Edwards is great but you are right Hayden has the ability to transcend the sport.
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Old 10-23-2002, 02:34 PM   #46
rsheidler
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Default Re: Not Quite That Simple

You make a very good point. From Honda's perspective, they don't NEED someone to step in and be at the top immediately -- they have Rossi to do that, and if he should falter, they have Biaggi (for 03), Barros, Kato, Ukawa.... not exactly a shortage of potential winners/champions. With this depth of talent, it does make strategic sense to focus more on the talent that will be peaking in a couple more years, when Rossi is off racing rally cars, Barros has retired etc. In this sense, picking Nicky makes more sense than Colin, ignoring the marketing potential.



Yamaha was a bit different situation in my estimation -- having lost Biaggi, I think they should have gone for a more mature rider who is ready to challenge for the 2003 championship (I don't consider Checa to be there currently) so I really thought Colin would be a perfect match for them. I don't know the background on the decision to go different direction, but it looks like they also prefer to for younger talent -- the fact that they were after Nicky,and have reportedly picked Melandri, as opposed to going for Colin, or maybe Barros or someone like that makes that point.



Still, it is clear that Honda was ready to let Hayden sign with Yamaha until Honda USA jumped into the picture. I have heard rumors that a significant chunk of Honda USA's advertising/promotion budget has gone to help subsidise Nicky's 03 season.



I agree that all the money in the world would not buy an RCV, but the "private" teams such as Sito Pons (where Barros and Caporossi ride now) are independently financed, and these guys have to make it pay. The wishes of their sponsors cannot be ignored.
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Old 10-23-2002, 02:40 PM   #47
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Default Next year will be a banner year for MotoGP look out WSB

I think next year be will a banner year for MotoGP. Next years crop of MotoGP riders can arguably be considered the world's best. This year one could say that the talent of riders is evenly dispersed between MotoGP (Rossi, Baros, Biaggi) and WSB (Edwards, Baylis). However, next year with Bayliss, Edwards, Hayden, Rossi on the same track, even the most hard core WSB fan would have to admit that MotoGP has the edge



When you consider the technology used in MotoGP vs WSB, one has to give the edge to MotoGP



WSB still has a closer connection to the average rider i.e. a WSB bike is closer to what an average rider has.

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Old 10-23-2002, 03:23 PM   #48
rsheidler
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Default Re: Next year will be a banner year for MotoGP look out WSB

>>a WSB bike is closer to what an average rider has. <<



Yeah, sorta like a NASCAR racer is close to what my neighbor drives



You are right that they do at least LOOK like the stock bikes, which is more than I can say for NASCAR. Still, I wonder how many parts on Colin's or Nicky's RC51 came off the regular assembly line.



As for 2003 racing, I would not write off any of the major series. It is really hard to predict who will be competitive. I woulda guessed that BBoz would have challenged for the WSB championship, and that Xaus would have been in there too. Neither happened. I would not have predictid that Bayliss would have run away with the series, and a mid-season, I would not in a million years have predicted Colin's incredible comeback. I'm a hard-core Ducati fan, but I was cheering for Colin most of the second half of the season.



In GP, I might have picked Rossi to be best, but not to run away like he did. I expected the 2-strokes to still be best in the early season, and expected Kato to possibly pick up an early win on the oiler. I would have picked Biaggi to have been in there sooner, as well as KR-JR. Would never have expected Barros to be there.



There are rumors that Scot Russell may be in WSB or possibly AMA on a Ducati next year, Aprilia are said to have a semi-factory AMA team, Suzuki may play in both AMA and WSB with a gixxer1000.



Its all good! I think we may find that the musical chairs routine between AMA, WSB and GP will stir things up in all three series and could make for even better, or at least more interesting racing than this year. Actually, overall, the first half of the season kinds sucked -- with Troy, Rossi and Nicky seemingly winning everything. Then Colin, Biaggi, Barros, Caporossi etc plus EBoz in AMA really stirred things up, and the second half was some of the most exciting racing I have ever seen (and I am damn old!)



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Old 10-25-2002, 07:56 AM   #49
Joe_Momma
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Default Re: BS and YOU KNOW IT!!!

Hey dummy, I didn't say that Edwards choose one ride over another. I said that while he was offer all three rides, Yamaha eventually decided on a rider that was European. Then the Honda ride was left, and Edwards chose aprilia. Get your facts straight and learn how to read.
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