Steve Rapp, Larry Pegram and Andy M. None of these guys have won championships or are known for running up front with Mladin and Ebos. Miguel, Nicky H. and Roberts run upfront on V-Twins so it's not the bike. Most likely the team and riders just don't have the experience of setting up the bike and even with a perfectly setup bike non of the guys on the Duck teams would be considered elite riders by most enthusists. Don't get me wrong I'm sure they are fast but when was the last time any of them set the world on fire???
Combined with not quite world classs rider talent and new inexperienced teams (HMC?Who? Competition?What? - compare to FBF and Vance and Hines) plus a little bad luck (Scott Russel), the Ducatis are out for this year at least. Next season has Ducati Corse taking over which should draw better riders and and faster bikes. The US ducati riders are on basically last seasons bikes, whereas Ben, Troy and Rueben are on the new Testastretta motors..... but the final choice? ANYONE ELSE BUT MATT MLADIN!
Methinks Ducati Corse's non-WSB efforts are going to trying to figure out how to beat the Honda V5 next year or two. Methinks Ducati has a lot of company in the pack regarding this. Mehopes GP doesn't turn into a pure spendathon (like F1), although this is probably wishful thinking, given how the rules are written.
So how'd the VR1000 do? I kinda miss the old "H-D in the top ten!" announcements. Such big words earlier this season, too ...