If persistent rumors turn out to be true, and Valentino Rossi does indeed leave MotoGP to race Formula One in 2007, it will leave a massive void in the ranks of the world’s top roadracing series. Rossi has been the dominant force in the series since the switch to four-strokes, and the rest of the paddock has spent most of their time focusing on how to beat him and his talented crew chief Jeremy Burgess.
If Rossi leaves, the question becomes whether another rider will rise to the same level of dominance that ‘the Doctor’ has displayed, or the series will again become a competitive free-for-all, with four or five riders fighting for the win every weekend. In recent years, it seems that many series have had a dominant rider, whether it be Mat Mladin in AMA Superbike, Ricky Carmichael in AMA Supercross and outdoor Motocross and Stefan Everts in MX1. Rossi fits this mold in MotoGP – but who stands to inherit the top position when (and if) he moves on?
There are a number of possibilities, ranging from young guns like Marco Melandri, Nicky Hayden, and Dani Pedrosa, to seasoned veterans like Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi. Not to mention the dark horses like Shinya Nakano, Colin Edwards, Chris Vermeulen, or Carlos Checa.
Of course, regular readers get to read plenty of MY opinions about MotoGP. Now we want to hear what you think. Who will fill the void if Rossi departs to Formula One? E-mail me with your opinion, and keep your eyes peeled for our ‘reader’s response’ follow-up article.