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John Hopkins & Nicky Hayden Square Off In MotoGP For 2003: MD Reader Responses

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about the John Hopkins/Nicky Hayden 2003 MotoGP face off. Who will come out ahead next year? I gave you my opinion. Below is yours.

  • In regards to your article and questions, it’s all to easy to try and
    make a comparison between the two riders. But it isn’t quite that simple.
    Yes, they are both young and close in age, but their respective career
    paths have been very different. While both have raced since they were
    young, I think Hayden has had some advantage due to the competition with
    his brothers. After all, he’s been able to race with them at home and on
    the track. And while Hayden does have a wealth of experience with
    different types of machinery, Hopkins has had the benefit of racing and
    winning on 2-stroke road race bikes. Also, in looking at the racing
    records, one can’t help but notice that in every year that Hopkins has
    raced professionally in the U.S., he has seen a championship. Given the
    opportunity, he may have done quite well in the AMA Superbike class. The
    fact that he did so well in his first year in MotoGP, on a 2 stroke no
    less, speaks highly of his talents. I’m not taking anything away from
    Hayden, as he is an incredible rider. But don’t forget that in getting
    the Superbike title, he was continually dogged by Eric Bostrom on an
    ancient machine while he had the best that Honda had to offer. One can
    only wonder how Bostrom would have done had he been on a similar machine.
    I think Hayden will do well in the coming years of MotoGP. But I also
    think that with Hopkins year of getting familiar with all of those new
    tracks, on the bike he rode, he’ll be the one to watch. My money is on
    him.
    On a side note, I think that Rossi is going to have a very difficult time
    keeping his title next year. If he keeps it at all.

  • Hayden will ride the best machinery and be paired with the best teammate, therefore he has been given an excellent chance to excel. He is, however, a rookie who is unfamiliar with the tracks, unfamiliar with the V5, and unfamiliar with the competition. I see him as struggling during the first half of the season, then coming to grips with everything towards the end. Will he win or see podium? Doubtful. MotoGP 2003 is a veritable “Dream Team” of riders, many of them on equal machinery, all far more experienced than himself. What he has in his favor is youth, and natural ability equal to any other. Once he’s learned his way around he’ll be a real threat.
    If Hopkins’ Suzuki can become the equal of the V5, then I would pick him over Hayden in 2003.

  • Good luck to both. It would be great to see the pair in the top 5 MotoGP
    next year along with KR. I give the edge to Nicky on ability, the nod to
    Hopkins because of his years exp in Europe. My pic, Nicky over Hopkins on
    raw talent.

  • No doubt about it, Nicky will show better than Hopkins. Suzuki is in
    trouble. Maybe they will turn it around next year, but I think Honda has
    their act together and that will allow Nicky to do better than John even
    with the advantage of one year experience on the GP circuit that John has
    over Nicky. Not even close.

  • Nicky will have a big machinery advantage, as Honda will not stand still over the winter. As far as Rossi being the most talented racer walking, thats a pile of s–t. They gave Barros a customer version of the honda and he beat Rossi, and Barros never struck me as the top dog either. Rossi is a good rider, but lets face it he stepped into Mick Doohans team with the best bike/ mechanics hell he ought to win. That and the RCV was way ahead of anybody elses bike. Honda should’ve put Colin on the motogp team as he has won way more than Nicky, and at higher levels. Now they’ve lost him to Aprilia. It will serve them right if he spanks their ass. Hopkins has balls I hope he spanks the media’s darling Nicky’s ass.

  • No slight to Hopkins, who is no doubt a better rider than 99.9999% of the rest of us, but competition for Nicky? Doubt it. Not only is Nicky the obviously more experienced and accomplished rider, but the Suzuki is still not going to be competative with the Honda. They didn’t make any strides toward the end of the year so what are they going to pull out of the bag prior to next season to make any difference? John has the whole year of Euro-experience, but don’t think that will be much of a detriment to the incredible talent of Nicky.

  • Both racers deserve to be where they are at right now in Motogp. They
    have earned their spot. Both are talented and have won championships. Both racers are representing the United States of America. So please, let’s
    wish them both our very best and God Bless. Good Luck to my son and to Nicky. Go USA!!!!

  • While MotoGP 2002 turned out as a Honda fest it was good racing anyway you look at it. I think most people knew Honda would come out of the gates as hard as they did. That’s Honda. They’ve been doing that since day one.
    The 2003 season will most likely show vast improvements all around from all the manufacturers and teams. I think it will be a much closer race to the podium than 2002.

  • Hi, I just read the article about Nicky v. John H. in your online articles, and I just wanted to make a response to your request for email. Firstly, Hopkins v. Haga. No question in my mind that Haga is the better rider. If for no other reason, there’s always the possibility of the “Haga Line” to throw into the mix. Haga has proven himself to be the better rider of the 2 in my mind, and I feel that if Haga had stayed in GP this last year, with the track knowledge he’d gained from his initial GP year, he would have ended up top ten easily. Just look at the results he posted at the tracks he knew like Valencia and Phillip Island.
    Secondly, Hopkins v. Hayden. Again I’d have to vote for the later of the 2. Nicky has been racing at the highest level in AMA for a couple of years now, whereas noone ever saw fit for Hopkins to be given a ride in the premier North American class. Albeit I feel John is a better rider than C. Roberts and less of a wingnut regardless of winnings. As for the GP class, while it is true that John has some track knowledge going into season 2 GP, I feel that a really good rider can come on the scene and be completitve regardless of track knowlege, Bayliss in WSB his first season. What I feel it comes down to is that Nicky is on the better bike and is ulitimatly the better rider than John, but I look forward to seeing some of what I feel are the best riders in the world in Edwards, Haga and Bayliss competing in next year’s GP eventhough they’re on as of yet unproven bikes. But I have a hankering for the next season to get underway that’s for su! re. Not only are there lots of good new “rookies” in the class, but the Rossi/ Barros saga should prove to be an excellent one.