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With Rossi at Yamaha, Who Is The Number One MotoGP Rider For Honda? – MD Reader Responses

On November 11, 2003, MD asked readers to express thier opinion on the identity of the rider who will be number one on the Honda MotoGP roster next year, after the departure of Valentino Rossi. What follows are the often intelligent responses, without any edits, whatsoever.

  • Who will get the “Rossi treatment” from Honda? No one. Crazy as it may
    sound,I’d venture that Honda is glad to be rid of Rossi, on some level.
    Honda has a lot of pride and I’d bet they’re tired of Rossi getting the
    lion’s share of the credit for the sucess of the RC211V. Rossi’s prolonged
    contract negotiations, and the zany antics after races just don’t fit with
    my perception of Honda’s culture.

    I’d bet money that the next MotoGP champion will be on a Honda. The
    factory is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that Honda is on top,
    and show the world who really won the Championship.

    PS: Personally I think Rossi is the greatest rider alive.

  • Honda’s #1 rider should be Edwards. afaik, none of the others have given
    Honda a world championship, nevermind two. but i think it will come down to
    the person who claims the top spot during winter tests and maybe the first
    few races. i’d wager that’ll be Edwards.

  • Considering what’s at stake for Honda, I wouldn’t be surprised if HRC
    pulls out all the stops and giving their armada of riders equal
    machinery. At least at for the early stages of the 2004 season. As the
    season draws on and the standings shake out, HRC might then bet on the
    horses that have the best chance of giving them the title – especially
    if supporting 5+ riders with bikes at true 100% factory level is
    unsustainable, even for mighty Honda.

  • thanks for the opportunity. Colin Edwards is the man to watch on the Honda squad. If Rossi was a real man, he would have traded with Edwards and took on the Cube, or better yet, rode the Kawasaki for 04. Who ever, I can’t wait.

  • Who won the most races after Valentino? Who finished in second place? Professional considerations (which don’t exist anymore) should give this “title” at Honda’s MotoGP teams to Sete Gibernau. Period!

  • Well, if i had to guess…

    Hayden: if he does show early on that he is on the pace and on the box,
    Honda will definately give him the star treatment. He is a team player, he
    doesnt complain, is thier future if they let him be, the women love him, and
    always has that smile on his face showing that he is enjoying himself at
    work as much as at play. Plus, it doesnt hurt that Nicky is a bonified star
    in the US, which helps Honda sell product.

    Gibernau: if he continues to show his great form from 2003, honda will have
    to give him thier full attention. It almost seemed like they gave him the
    full ‘works’ bike last year just because it was sitting around collecting
    dust after the Kato incident. With it he showed that he can handle the bike
    as much as win with it. But he isnt a star, just yet, so honda might be
    tentative about giving him the full star treatment.

    Biaggi: being a long time fan of the sport it isnt hard to see that Max is
    a bonified STAR, however it has never seemed like any manufaturer has ever
    WANTED him on thier bike except to win races. He is the top complainer in
    motorcycle racing, without question. Ducati all but said they didnt want
    him because they didnt want his public complaints about the Desmosedeci in
    what was, for them, a trial-and-error year. Yamaha fired him, before he
    quit, because they wanted a rider to help develop a winning platform, and
    not complain about how terrible it was even when he would win races on it or
    crash out of the lead from his own mistakes. Even now he complains about
    the ‘customer’ RCVs as if he was riding a mini-bike. It is widely known
    that if he wins, its all him, and if he doesnt, then its the bike. I cant
    believe Honda would want him as thier #1 guy when at any turn he could
    complain about this, that, or the other that might be wrong with the bike.

    Tamada: Japan Inc. has been wanting a Japanese MotoGP champion for forever.
    Kato held alot of peoples’ hopes for that to come to pass. Tamada is a very
    talented rider, no question, but without the top equipment, including tires,
    he will not really have a chance to win the championship. Lets see what
    happens with his equipment level in the next couple years.

    Edwards: This has got to be the wild card for the next season. Everyone
    knows that he and Bayliss are the two proven riders who are very capable of
    beating 95% of the paddock on any given day when given the right equipment.
    Bayliss had that privledge this season, and now Edwards has it as well.
    They are proving that guys in WSB can definately compete at the highest
    levels-at least the champions can. BUT, lets not forget, after Edwards’
    championship winning run in 2002, Honda didnt even acknowledge his efforts
    or even his employment at thier end of year announcements congradulating
    thier champions across the world. Would they now give him the top equipment
    and be up for ridicule for NOT giving him an RCV beforehand?

    My money is on Hayden early on, especially if he gets on the box a few
    times, then Sete…but i am rooting for Edwards to show how good he really

  • Gibernau will, he will be the man to beat from the Honda camp. Nicky
    will be in the hunt, but Sete’s experience and determination will make
    him #1 with Honda.

    Rossi will develop the Yamaha MotoGP bike over the winter break and come
    out swinging as usual. Next year will be interesting indeed.

  • Gibernau will, he will be the man to beat from the Honda camp. Nicky
    will be in the hunt, but Sete’s experience and determination will make
    him #1 with Honda.

    Rossi will develop the Yamaha MotoGP bike over the winter break and come
    out swinging as usual. Next year will be interesting indeed.

  • It must be Edwards!They own him …(excuse my english)

  • I say … Nicky Haden!!!

  • Sete was the only one whom consistently pressured
    Rossi for most of the whole season so I would
    choose him to put my money into if I was Honda.

  • Nicky is the # 1 man at Honda.Why you ask? Look at the people behind the kid Mick Doohan,Freddie Spencer and all the others with this supporting cast this alone makes Nicky the man..

  • It is very possible that Alex Barros will be the first pilot on honda. Negociations still running.

    1) Hayden has improving a lot but he still need one more year to be on TOP. Honda wants american market, nothing better than a american idol winning world motogp. But he is not prepared yet.

    2) Alex knows how to set up the bikes and develop tires for adverse circunstances. HRC-REPSOL team still have one vacancy left.

    3) REPSOL is entering in Brazilian petrol market and want to have a good propaganda.

    4) Rossi spoke that only Alex Barros was difficult to defeat. When Barros had a RCV in 2002, he was the man who beated Rossi.

    5) I am brazilian an I really wish the best for Alex because if there is nacional motorcycle championship in Brasil, with I am one of the pilots, we have to thank´s Alex Barros and his family, because they are still supporting the sport here in Brasil!!!!!

  • I think Colin will end up being the guy. I think he will win the whole ball
    of wax if Yamaha doesn’t give Rossi a competitive bike.

  • Honda can probably relax and treat all there riders equally now that
    the very talented, but somewhat primadona like Rossi has departed. I
    don’t thing any of Honda’s current riders will demand special treatment
    (yet). I think both Hayden and Edwards are very thankful to have a top
    ride at Honda and a real chance at becoming world champion. I really
    don’t know Sete, but he to should be thankful to have a factory ride on
    the top Moto GP bike and a valid shot at defeating Rossi, on a bike
    thats not quite equal to the Honda. Makoto Tamada should not be a
    demanding individual, but a team player for cultural reasons if nothing

    I believe Honda has a good team, and a good chance at winning the
    Championship next year, but is also hoping for strong competition from
    the other factory teams. As stated in a previous Motorcycle Daily
    article, it’s not good for business for any one manufacturer to
    dominate a series so strongly that none of the other teams has a
    chance. That’s what has happened in World Superbike, and it’s real
    boring and Sundays win doesn’t translate in to Mondays sales without

    I only wish that Rossi had gone to Ducati, now that would have been

  • well nickys saying its gonna be him. i think hes hondas anointed golden boy so he could be right

  • This should turn out to be a great year for motoGP —
    Honda cannot lose on this one.

    Honda should distribute parts and techincal information equally, and
    see which rider and setup team can use that information and parts to their best advantage.
    It is also up to Yamaha to see if they can build Rossi a giant killer bike.
    They have been able to build the R1 to be a 600 class dominator, they have the know how to do it?
    Do they have the buget and the will to hang with Honda and Ducati?
    I am disapointed that Aprilla did not have the will to compete with the big boys, they are so dominate in the smaller GP bikes, I was hoping with a rider of the caliber of Colin Edwards, and their GP history in the smaller displacement bikes, we thought this was a good combo, but it was’nt meant to be.

    I personally am a Colin Edwards fan, but my son is a Nick Hayden fan, so we are both waiting to see this dog fight with the playing field a little more level.

  • I think it will be Hayden just because he is a long term investment and
    Honda is trying to get more North American’s interested in the sport of
    MotoGp (and every one seems to love Hayden). And I think that MAx will be
    #2 because if he isn’t then he will cry so much that who ever is #2 will
    give him the sport to shut him up.

    Thats what I think I am not sure I would like to see Edwards get the #1
    because I think that he earned it last year but got the shaft on the
    Aprilia. Okay maybe not to kick the Docotor out off #1 but he should have
    be there with Hayden for sure I mean the the AMA isn’t WSB. Don’t get me
    wrong he is still a great rider I am just saying that based on the merit of
    the Championships Edwards should have been #2 last year and #1 this year.

  • I think that Honda’s best stuff should go to Colin Edwards. Becuase of the lot, he is the best. Nicky should not be far behind as well as Biaggi and Gibernau. But My vote is definately for Colin. I think he has what it takes. Nicky is on his way as well but I still think its too soon for him.

  • Max Biaggi must start the season as Honda’s #1 rider. He’s always been considered #2 in Grand Prix/MotoGP racing behind Valentino Rossi. With Rossi gone, it must be Max.

  • Nicky, most long term upside
    Sete, proven worth LAST year

    Colin, long suffering soldier delivering two World Championships to Honda in

    Max, chronic complainer, starting to get a little long in tooth, but still

    Makoto, ups and downs, no Japanese rider has done the deed consistently in
    the top class no matter how much the factories have wanted it

  • We have a pool going among my friends as to who will win the 2004
    championship. One entrant had the top 5 as:

    1. Rossi
    2. First loser
    3. Second loser
    4. Third loser
    5. Fourth loser
    It is hard to bet against an obvious talent like Valentino, arguably the
    greatest GP rider ever. He may struggle in the beginning of the year
    getting the Yamaha sorted, but he will be there by mid season.

  • That’s really kind of easy. It’ll be the one who goes fastest in practice and makes the most showings on the podium. Next question?

  • Nicky hayden should get the Number 1 seat. He’s the youngest, and the most
    talented. Max will never win a championship, he always has some kind of
    excuse. I don’t think Tamada is fast enough all the time to challenge.
    Colin has allot of talent and determination. He could do great next year.
    You should give the number one bike to the youngest man with the brightest
    future. NICKY

  • Honestly i do not think of Nicky Hayden as the next big thing in MotoGP. I do not know his background in the US, but it seems to me that his good results had much to do with being in a Honda, in the official team, having the best rider as a teammate.
    I’m not saying he is average, as it won’t surprise me if he eventually gets to the title, but i just think he might need that extra year before he can be an actual contender.

    Honestly, my vote goes to either Sete or Colin.
    The first one, because he came from a Suzuki, caught himself in a much better bike and just squeezed it into a few deserved wins against mighty Rossi, and ended up runners up on his own merit.
    As for Colin, he’s used to producing results under Honda’s way of working (two WSB titles), and he is a very constant rider, without random mistakes causing major point losses.

    One thing i know for sure: whether or not Yamaha is able to speed up the M1 development so that Rossi can have an actual shot at the ’04 title, Biaggi will still finish 95% of the races behind the #46 Yamaha. The “Roman” is the biggest case of Marketing rider i’ve ever seen. And i just love seeing him fail, time after time.

  • If they’re smart they will get behind Hayden. Not because he’s the only talent, but because if he “pays-off” at the track, that could lead to the greatest economic “pay-off” here in the States. While Europe is apparently the growth market-place for dual-sports and standards, the serious sport-bike is still the weapon-of-choice for many in the U.S.

    Honda may have to show some patience next year since I’d give better odds on Hayden for the following year. Besides; Honda said they would like to see some added competition next year. Of course I would NEVER rule out the talent and determination of now-fellow-Honda-rider Colin Edwards!

    GO COLIN !!!!!!! GO!!!!!!!!

  • whoever wins

  • Hi, Love your site…

    I think Hayden will be the man next year. He may not be the best rider among the Honda teams, but he will probably get the best bikes, like Rossi did this year. I read an interview on that said that Hayden and Rossi did’nt even have the same bike in 2003, Rossi getting the new engines and goodies and Hayden keeping the same bike all year.

    Since Hayden is “high profile” and a good corporate representative, much more than his new teammate Barros, I think Honda will send Nicky the good stuff, thus making him a winner next year.

  • There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the number one rider in
    the honda paddock is Sete Gibernau. He was the only one consistantly
    following Rossi’s tail. While of course not seriously challenging for
    Rossi’s championship, he was far and away the only distant threat.
    No-one else can be taken seriously. Consistancy wins championships and
    no other Honda rider has shown they have the moxie in this area.

  • Your question is “who gets the Rossi treatment” from Honda..

    I had to think this thing through. Right off, most will aim at Gibernau,
    who took second place after Rossi this past season. But, we have think
    long term.

    Sure, Colin has won a very hard WSB championship and showed that he could
    ride the Bucking Bronc/Aprilia and place in the top ten. He has massive
    talent. He will be able to ride “around” the lesser Honda’s.

    Max is washed up. He just cannot win championships any longer. End of

    Tamada did very well on the RCV this season, especially considering the fact
    that he did on lesser tires. It showed some real talent. However, if I
    remember correctly, he was riding the Bridgestones at a track and/or
    conditions that favored those tires. This puts him after Gibernau.

    Nicky was hired on to the A team, so that’s where he will stay. He’s young,
    showed incredible promise as the season came to an end and I firmly believe
    that Nicky will get A treatment and Colin and Gibernau will get the A parts
    after they are proven on the Telefonica team.

  • Well Hayden had a great rookie season but not one deserving of being the number one rider. Sete should be that person. He overcame unbelievable odds this season and was a constant thorn in Rossi’s side. Yes he had good equipment but still not equal to Rossi’s. However it would be interesting to see if Biaggi could actually win a championship when he had absolutely no equipment excuses. That’s my two cents.

  • The Honda teams can certainly tell who will rise to the top through testing. Whomever produces the best and most consistent lap numbers should move to the head of the class.
    There is too much about personalities and politics and not enough about consistent and quick laps.

  • I think Colin Edwards will end up moto gp champ after the season, so I think he should have the best equip. during the year, with or without it he’ll be the champ with Nicky finishing runner up in the championship.

  • Jeez, to say that they have lots of talent is an understatement. If Honda in Japan gets their way, I can see a push for Tamada, and if they don’t, I forsee at least some team “undstandings” while racing in Japan. I think that if American Honda has it the way they want it, you’ll see Nicky get the top spot. This is for two reasons 1) They have been flogging the AMA series as a credible entity for way too long to back out now, and 2) Edwards as much as gave Honda the middle finger after a STUNNING performance in World Superbike. On that note, I think Colin is faster, at least for right now. Bitchaggi is the wild card of the mix…if he wins, it’s because he was better than the problems with the bike, if he loses, it’s because the bike had too many problems. He may well still be the fastest man on the squad, but unless Honda want to play up the rivalry between he and Valentino, I’d opine that he doesn’t really matter to them. Gibernau is out if contention as a man displaced largely by politics. Too many sponsers are trying to link local jockeys to the locally rich markets. Sad too, because we know Sete is fast. No matter who begins the year in the ONE slot ( ’cause we know how things can change midstream as the season and championship unfold ), Honda still has reason to be arrogant as always, because they will still be producing more podiums than any other manufacturer just by merit of their depth. I’ve been wrong many times before, so I’ll just wait and see.

  • I believe that Nicky is Honda’s top man this coming year with hopes that Colin or the others can be there if something goes wrong. Two reasons: Nicky is young and clearly the future of Honda GP for now and when Mick Doohan comes out and say’s Nicky will be the next champ in a year or two I think that seals that debate. Hopefully with Doohans leadership he can help propel Nicky to the next level which is he so close to now. I also believe that Colin has a solid chance of winning, my only concern would be if he gets the same equipment as Nicky?

  • I would have to say Colin Edwards. Look at his last year in WSB. He rode the wheels off his RC51, and it was only down 30 HP or so, right? I bet that Colin and Nicky are going to do very well next season. I personally have only owned Yamaha for my 27 years of ridding, so am hoping that Rossi does well too!

  • It will be a battle between Nicky Haden and Colin Edwards. Both have demonstrated the skill, determination and steady handedness of champions. They are both hungry and on the way up the learning curve with Colin in the lead. Many other riders are close but seem to have leveled off. I feel Colin Edward is perhaps the best rider in MotoGP. He has shown time again that he can development a motorcycle to a winning machine and bring a title home too. He will not have to fight his machine when he is on the Honda, just focus on winning.

  • I think one of the reasons I had heard for Rossi’s departure was that they intended to make all of the bikes equal next year. Nobody would have special parts.

    But to definitively answer your question……. It will be Hayden…. Or Gibernau, or Edwards. Not necessarily in that order.

  • If he rejoins Honda it would have to be Alex Barros.

  • It should be Gibernau. He’s beaten Rossi and Hayden on a #2 team’s bike. But Honda needs a dog & pony show to sell to the american market. Nicky will be pampered.

  • Nicky gets the best stuff

  • I think you have to go with Sete Gibernau as Honda’s number one rider. He had the best season other then Rossi this year. Nobody likes Biaggi so I don’t think he will ever be considered number one at Honda anyway. Nicky Hayden and Makato Tamada need another year under their belts to prove they
    are worthy of the honor. If Colin Edwards can consistently ride at the top and challenge for the Championship, he could be number one for 2005, but not for 2004 coming from Aprilia.

  • Nobody at first. They should all receive identical machines until one or two are clearly better positioned to fight for the championship after the half way point.

  • Either Max Biaggi or Sete Gibernau would be a good choice. Max would be my
    choice just to piss off Rossi. It would also push Rossi harder to make the
    Yamaha work against possible new more powerful Hondas to come. As for Sete, he
    would be an excellent choice and maybe a little more of a class act. “I got it”.
    Set up a boxing match between Max and Sete and whoever wins gets to fight it
    out with Rossi next year. “Yeah thats the ticket”. What ever happens “I CAN’T

  • I think Gibernau should be #1. He did an amazing job this year, especially after it started so bad for him & his team. He was always running up front.

    Biaggi thinks he is better than he really is. He has his days, but how many times did he bad-mouth Honda in 2003 because he had “inferior” machinery. When he doesn’t do good, it’s the bikes fault. Gibernau won at Welkom with a customer RCV, & just look at Brno, which many consider Biaggi’s best track. I don’t think he was in the top five. He said he had a problem with his bike, which could very well be, but I bet Honda would prefer him to say it was electrical or tire related. He’s not too smart politically.

    Hayden had an amazing second half of the year, no doubt, but I think it would be unfair to him, Gibernau, and all of Honda, to place championship expectations on him when he could still use another year of polishing. Reward Gibernau for being the highest placed returning Honda rider in the Championship, not Nicky for having potential. Racing is all about results. Where you finish counts for a lot more than were you will be finishing with a few more races under your belt.

    I think Edwards could be the dark horse. As we’ve seen many a time, he can ride the wheels off of anything he has, he did after all qualify 7th at Valencia, which can never be an easy track to ride with a heavy & under-torqued bike. I’d like to see him & Gibernau get equal equipment, but politically I think the #2 rider will still be Hayden. I think Edwards can come home with at least two wins next year.

    Tamada had a few good runs, but we have yet to see how much of that was talent & how much was tires. He also had a few bad runs, but, again, we don’t know how much of that was related to him or the tires.

  • Edwards all the way!!!

  • Sete Gibernau #1, Colin Edwards his ‘backup’ rider with Nicky Hayden
    completing the Honda MotoGP 2004 triad.
    Watch out for Colin Edwards as he has something to prove!

  • If Edwards gets the Rossi treatment he will be the 2004 MotoGP Champion.

    Hayden is still green, he’ll be at the top consistently, get wins, and a championship, but not quite yet.

    Biaggi, plays to many head games, and I think he loose’s alot of the games. He’s been the #1 guy at Yamaha, and you’ve seen the results for Biaggi and Yamaha.

    Gibernau, I like, he’s good, but not Edwards at Imola good!

  • Without trying to sound biased I would have to say it is going to be Edwards. He has a long affiliation with Honda and has won Championships for them he knows michelin tyres and has a wealth of experience to draw upon. Biaggi doesn’t have the consistency for a championship win. Hayden although promising is still a little “green”. Gibernau is good but just lacks that do or die attitude of Edwards. Do I have to remind everyone of the last race of the 2002 WSBK.

  • How about all of them getting the same. At least for this year. Then they could see who is actually the best rider. I think this would make the best sense. They all have incredible ability, lets let them use it to the fullest. What a better way than if all the bikes were equal.
    What about that?

  • Sete Gibernau will carry the flag for Honda. I think Colin and Max Biaggi will battle with him. Nicky will be stronger, but he will require some time to gain that much needed experience.

    The battle will be between Sete, Colin and Max. Consistency will win the title. Rossi on Yamaha…. ….maybe in 2005.

  • That’s a good one, you would think Sete would get the nod as he has won a
    lot more races than Max, but in the end I think Nicky will be the man. I’m
    not saying it’s fair as I think Collin Edwards got the short end of the
    stick this year, his championship win in world superbike was nothing short
    of a miracle. I really don’t think the question will be answered anytime
    soon, I think pre-season testing will naturally bring out the who’s who and
    the what’s up. I make a predication for this season. Rossi will bring out
    the best in Yamaha, and Hayden will be on his heals. Scott DeSart

  • According to Honda, which ever rider is winning in the
    beginning of the season will get the premium bits. My
    guess is that this evaluation will be done close to
    half way through the ’04 MotoGp season. If I had to
    pick a rider right now to be Honda’s #1 rider for next
    season, then that is easy, Sete Gibernau. You have to
    look away from the blind American devotion to Nicky
    Hayden, Sete finished 2nd in the championship and
    actually won a race. Rossi is #1, Sete #2, if Rossi
    is out, then Sete is their #1 Rider.

  • Colin Edwards proved everyone wrong with a come-from-behind championship victory in WSBK 02. With the best factory team now behind him and a “hands-on” knowledge of Moto GP courses, what’s to stop him this year!? Nothing.

    I think a Honda RCV under Edwards is all the added confidence he’ll need to run in front. As well, I predict a series of huge battles with Rossi on his spankin’ new Yammi. At very least, we can all agree it’s gonna be tons of fun to watch!

    P.S. – Nicky will be top 3 this year!

  • Hayden still is not ready for the top rider slot. It took him a few
    years to really hit his stride in AMA Superbike, and the same may hold
    true for MotoGP.

    I say give the top spot to Gibernau (man, won’t Biaggi be pissed!) and
    let Hayden chase him around the track for another year. THEN, I think
    Hayden will be ready to truly dominate the class.

  • It’s a silly question, like asking who is the #1 player for the Lakers,
    Shaq or Kobi? Who cares? They’ll all get great bikes and finishing
    order will likely be rider skill, not bikes. And Rossi’s Yamaha will
    likely spank them all, albeit by a reduced margin.

  • big dookie will

  • Nickey is my boy. He as the talent of the old masters, the guys who could ride anything on any track and win. It’s my bet that he isn’t going to be a strong contender until mid to late season though. I think that Sete Gibernau really showed that he will be the man to beat next year.

    Frankly, I don’t understand Colin Edwards. After the slap in the face he received from Honda last year I think that I would develope anybody’s and everybody’s bike before I ever sat on another Honda.

  • Colin… question……hope Nicky enjoyed his year as fastest

  • It is in my opinion that even though nicky hayden
    didnt win a race this past season, he will be pushed
    by team honda. He is very marketable right now and
    can bring an american audience not really seen much to
    motogp. He creates such an enigma as one of the
    americans trying to dethrone the other international
    riders on their own tracks.

  • Well Max is real good but not only so good and Sete is too old. Colin is too
    old and likes being the underdog. Give it to the rookies and see who shines.

  • No doubt, Hayden.

  • gotta love nicky hayden
    good ole american boy gonna show them europeans a thing or two 😉
    thanks for keepig us up to date

  • While Moto GP 2004 will be interesting, it won’t be nearly as strong a
    season for Rossi and Yamaha as 2005 will be. This will be another
    developmental year for Yamaha, as Rossi comes to grips with the YZR-M1.
    This is not to say he doesn’t have a shot at the title next year, just that
    2005 will be the year Yamaha dominates GP the way Honda has for the past 2
    years. That is unless Honda develops an equally incredible talent. If they
    are truly interested in keeping the dynasty going beyond 2004, Nicky Hayden
    will have to be their go to guy. That’s a difficult thing to say with the
    performance Gibernau put up this season, but you just get the feeling that
    he won’t be the threat that Hayden will turn out to be. Biaggi is, in my
    opinion, the favorite to win next year. But, he’ll be able to do it on the
    bike he’s developing now. Give Biaggi the crown next year, but develop
    Hayden with the #1 bike for future GP seasons. So: #1 – Hayden, #2 – Biaggi,
    #3 – Gibernau, #4 – Tamada, #5 – Edwards.

  • Rossi, himself, answer the question. ” the man that can be my real opponent is Alex barros.” By the way, rumours on Moto Gp that Barros would be the Nick Haiden’s teammate next year. HRC knows too. Remember last 4 races in 2002?

    If HRC puts a RC211v on Barros hands…. uhuuu! We’ll give a cool 2004. Wait and see…. bye, thanks!

  • Of course who doesn’t want to assume Nicky is the number one, but I think it will be more of an even field if not tilted toward Gibernau. No doubt Nicky is the #1 on the Repsol team, which should make him number one, but many reports have said Gibernau was in contract negotiations to get more top level support from Honda (such as the Japanese FI techs, which his team didn’t have direct access to). If he has gotten that kind of support, and it is equal or near equal to Nicky then he is the number one. If Nicky is the only rider (besides Barros, whatever..) with that kind of factory support and response then he is the number one Honda rider.

    Honda isn’t going to supply 4 or 6 sets of the latest stuff to the various Honda teams, Rossi got all the newest stuff at least a couple races before Nicky tried them. So assuming that scenario stays the same, Nicky will get the first race trials of the newest stuff since he is on the “factory” team.

  • Nicky Haden should receive the #1 treatment from Honda in MotoGP. He has
    earned it. Small town boy makes good.

  • The logical choice, would be Tamada, based on a few reasons:

    – Experience with the RC211V
    – Japanese

    But one can’t rule out Max Biaggi going from the Pons team to Repsol. He
    looks the best on paper, or maybe Gibernau, but he’s already confirmed at
    Telefonica for next year. Hayden is still too young, and doesn’t have the
    results yet to justify #1 status.

  • I’d love to see it be Hayden, but I think Nicky’s big year will e 2005, not

    I think Honda will back Biaggi as their best shot.

  • If I was Honda, I’d start them all on even bikes at the start of the season, and advance the “Rossi” parts to the rider placing highest in points.

    As a second thought, I hope Hayden isn’t teamed with Biaggi. Gibernau, Tamada or Edwards would all be fine.

  • Sete is tops.

    Honda should give the all the same high-specification parts. Let the best man win!!

  • Could Collin Edwards be honda’s new top dog? in 2002 he wasn’t dominant but he did do a good job on an inferior bike. Let’s face it the rc51 is getting spanked by the big inline 4’s. Then in 2003 he took the huge task of making another inferior bike win. (which he did not accomplish) Now with a bike we all know can win and the only other team even being close is Ducati, Could Collin Edwards be Honda’s new top dog?
  • Clearly,Nicky Haden is the future. He is a very quick learner as he has shown throughout his breif career so far.Gibernau and Biaggi did win races in the first half of the season but by the end Nicky was just as fast and should be a lot better next year after having seen all of the tracks now.I think the pressure will be to much for Max and Sete and you will see inconsistint results.I beleive Colin Edwards will emerge as number 1 during testing andhe will seize the moment and will be the next American world champ!With the comeback he made in WSBK 2 years ago to win the title he showed tremendous heart and drive.He hardly ever crashes and now he is back on an even better bike than his WSBK championship winning 4 stroke. My pick is Edwards for the title by a good margin followed by Rossi than Hayen.Rossi will be developing his new ride and the lack of testing time will hurt him.He should have things sorted out by the end of the season and Nickys fast learning curve will have him right up there to challenge.

  • With Rossi gone- Nicky+ Sete sounds good- Edwards will have to prove himself, regardless of past championships ( Amazing as WSB was). Biaggi, I believe would bring bad vibes to Repsol. Tamada is a great rider and would be a daring 2nd choice to Hayden. Always such a thorn to Honda, I would like to see Bayliss on the V5- The combination of the Honda’s ease of use w/ Bayliss’s adaptibility would click.

  • Sete should be #1 at Honda next year, because of his consistent good result,
    proved winning capability and experience. Nicky should earn the #1 for
    2005, by showing those same competencies in 2004…

  • Sorry for coming in late on this one. They should throw full support behind
    Gibernau. He deserves it. Biaggi was often quite disappointing and always
    found excuses for his subpar performances. Gibernau was the only one to
    actually duel with Rossi at times, and showed the heart of a lion. Hayden
    will get there (hey, rookie of the year…) but I think Gibernau has earned it.

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