While Bridgestone (thanks to Casey Stoner and Ducati) continues to dominate this MotoGP championship, the Michelin riders, on the whole, continue to struggle. Fiat Yamaha, with living legend Valentino Rossi, would have to be high on the list in the “struggling” category.
Repsol Honda, on the other hand, seems to be improving, and taking its Michelin-shod bikes to do battle at the front. Repsol riders Hayden and Pedrosa finished third and fourth at Brno last weekend — the top two finishers on Michelins. In testing today, although Bridgestone took the top two spots again (with Stoner and Hopkins), Hayden and Pedrosa were again third and fourth quickest, with the Yamahas of Colin Edwards and Valentino Rossi sixth and tenth quickest, respectively.
Of course, this could also reflect general improvement of the Honda motorcycle. Assuming Honda and Yamaha are both receiving the best Michelin has to offer, this latter perspective might be the most accurate.
Whatever the reason, Yamaha, and most notably Valentino Rossi, is now chasing not only the top Bridgestone riders, but the Hondas, as well.
Yamaha is not standing still, of course, and Rossi tested new engine parts today. It will be interesting to see how this all sorts out over the next few races, but Stoner has this championship very near his grasp.