What's with Barros? You mean what's with Honda??? They've been drinking too much unleaded lately. No ride for Edwards and to let Barros go? Honda-san be loco-san....Barry Sheene says Barros is the best man on the brakes, by the way...and now that he's going to have a whole season on the 4 stroke, things could get a little hot under the collar in the "Red" pit. Hee hee, I'm getting anxious....
Do I predict Barros to stun the world? I don't konw but it's going to be close. I'm hoping for good racing up front and I really hope Edwards does some serious damage to his nemesis KR Jr. I think Hayden's going to be too busy trying to order dinner off of foreign menus to be competetive (OK, so I'm jealous of him). Anyways, I'm excited because other manufacturers could be catching up to Honda and there could be some riders out for blood.
For most of last season, and particulary since he got the 4-stroke, Alex has just been in the best form of his career. I have always liked him but he somehow never seemed to have what it takes to move into the very top ranks. Of course, he also has been on less than first rate equipment much of this time.
Still, equipment can't explain how he was so impressive on the 2-stroke in 2002. It seems that maybe he realized that he is getting late in his professional career, and it he ever wants to get a shot at the top rankings, it was time to show what he was capable of.
The think that I have been really inpressed with is how quickly he got up to speed on the M1 -- I think on the first day, still using Max's setup, he was, I believe, quicker than he was on the RCV. He has only gotten quicker with time, and has almost always been the fastest each day at each test venue. Reportedly, he has been consistantly fast over race distances -- not just the occassional fast time.
In interviews, he has stated that the M1 handles and brakes better than the RCV, but might be a little down on power. Given his reputation as king of the late brakers, if true, look at him to make Honda look pretty effin stupid for letting him get away.
The other thing I think he as going for him is that he may be the best one our there at tire management (Rossi is also damn good) and/or at still riding very well even after the tires are crap. This is why I think some of the other fast guys (eg Biaggi, Capirossi, etc) who are also very fast in testing and qualifying, will find it more difficult to get to the top of the podium.
Note that I have become more impressed with Checa recently. He has been testing at times very close to Alex. If he can keep his concentration, he could be a contender this year as well.
If anyone has a shot at unseating Rossi in 2003, I think it will be Barros.
Barros success on the Yamaha is completely dependant on how much progress Yamaha makes in relation to Honda. Judging from test times so far this year, it looks like Barros might be sucking the hind teat of Capirossi's Desmodeci. As for Carlos Chubby Checa, it seems like whatever fire may have once burned in his belly has been extinguished. I'm a Yamaha fan--I ride a Yamaha--but I'm not holding my breath waiting for the M1 to succeed. I'll be happy if it does, but as it now stands, it looks like Barros' formidable skills may not be utilized to their utmost degree.
Honda certainly did ***** away some talent this year, but in its defense, it had far too much talent for the rides available. Damn shame about Colin Edwards, though. I hate to see someone with that much talent circulating the track on that monstrousity, the Aprilia RS Cube. I like Aprilia and think Edwards is one of the finest competitors in modern racing, but damn, that bike is a ****eheap. I'll be overjoyed if Colin can make it work, but have severe doubts. I'm afraid he's going to have to settle for duking it out with the Kawasaki and perhaps the Proton in some sort of epic battle of the backmarkers.
I think you are right on track. I can't believe that Honda let both Edwards and Barros get away, so they could pick up who? Sete? Nicky? Tomada? I am not knocking these guys (I think Nicky will eventually be very good, but a year in World Superbike, where he could ride familiar machinery while he learned to read the foreign menus, would have been a better way to spend 2003, IMHO), but I just can't believe they chose any of em over Colin and Alex.
I have the feeling that both Colin and Alex will be doing their damnedest to make Honda sorry.
I think that Barros well be up front of the standings. It seems that the Yam. M-1 has improved alot since the start of last season and I hope it gives him a chance to win. If you recall the first ride he took on the M-1 after the season was over, he was already up to his pole qualifying time he had in the last race on the RC211V. I'm not saying this just because I'm a Yamaha fan but I hope there is a mix of winners in the Moto Gp series who ever it may be besides Rossi, because I feel that near the end of the season some fans was loosing interest with Rossi dominating the sport. Its always better for any sport to have a mix of winners. At least it will keep it more interesting. Can't wait for the season to start!!
Alex Barros is very talented, but I think he is very unlikely to be a real threat over the course of an entire season. I think that if he is able to score points and stay close in the championship that he will start falling pretty consistently about 3/4 of the way through the season.
Carlos Checa also has a history of cracking under pressure. I think that Yamaha made a serious error by letting Biaggi go. The new team leaders Barros and Checa have speed, but I think they are missing the little extra something that makes a champion.
KR Jr. won the championship in 2000, but I while i think he is talented I do not believe he will have the machinery he needs to be a challenger.
Like 2001 and 2002, the 2003 championship will come down to a battle between Biaggi and Rossi.
Like 2001 and 2002, the 2003 championship will come down to a battle between Biaggi and Rossi.
On a competitive bike Barros was closer to Rossi than Biaggi was and that wasn't at all close.
I agree about Checa's pressure problem, but Barros looks great under pressure. Seems like he was overachieving all year. I understand he had a previous history of inverted riding, but he was consistently upright in 2002.
Biaggi got off the Yamaha for a reason. The good news is the new Yamaha is just as fast as last year's Honda. The bad news is they have to race against this year's Honda. I'll go with Honda this year. With 7 bikes racing it won't take them long to be faster than everyone else and stay there.
"The good news is the new Yamaha is just as fast as last year's Honda."
At the first test of the year (the only one I know featured both Honda and Yamaha testing at the same track at the same time) Barros went faster on the Yamaha than he did on the Honda two or three days prior, and also was faster than everyone else on a Honda except Rossi. I don't think there will be that big of a difference (if any) this year in performance between Honda and Yamaha.
Biaggi got off the Yamaha because Yamaha declined to renew his contract. He was in discussions with Ducati, but they chose Capirossi over him (reportedly because Biaggi has a reputation of being difficult to work with).
At Valencia immediately after the end of the season, Barros on last year's M1 was as fast as Rossi on last year's RCV. Both the M1 and RCV will be faster in 2003, though.
Rossi on the RCV is still the safest bet, but if anybody can take him down in 2003, I think it is Barros.
Rossi seems to be able to mess with Biaggi's head, but he doesn't seem to be able to do so to Barros. If anything, the reverse. After one race last year, Rossi was quoted as saying "every time I fight with Alex, he f#cks me!" From interviews I have seen, it appears that the riders Rossi fears and respects the most are Capirossi and Barros. With good reason, IMHO.
I think Biaggi will be lucky to be #3 among Honda riders at the end of the season. If he doesn't start off well and falls into his pattern of blaming his equipment (he doesn't automatically get the latest factory stuff -- if he proves himself, he may later in the season), I see one or both of of the Japanese riders (who do get full factory support) outperforming him. Kato has gotten in quite a bit of wet practice in the off season, which addresses his main weakness. He certainly has the potential to be right up there, plus he weigh about 50lbs less than Max (I don't know just what he does weigh, but he is a little squirt).
I am willing to make a small wager that Barros outpoints Biaggi in 2003.
First someone had posted a reference to an interview that Colin and his wife Aly had given for Motorcycle Racer magazine. In it, two of the questions were, "What are your best points?" and "what are your worst points?" To which the answer was, "I'm persistent, hard working, blah blah blah" and the second answer was "I've got a temper.......and I'm a three pump chump".
In response Colin posted the following:
Author: Colin Edwards II (---.txucom.net)
Date: 02-10-03 09:38
I've got another funny story. As you could imagine through the course of a relationship you do some weird things. This is one of them. Aly and I were just about to get down to business one night in the motorhome when I had a thought. I'm fast on the race track, but how fast am I in the bedroom. So I pull my trusty stopwatch out to have a go. "beep"-----------------37 seconds later-----BOOM!!!!! So until you guys can beat 37 seconds I'm still the champ. So there you are, a night in bed with the Edwards. LOL
Someone else pointed out that, fortunately for Aly, WSB runs a two race format!
So, until Val, Max, ALex etc can step up with something faster than 37 seconds, Colin is still the champ!