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December 15th, 2010, 10:44 AM   #1
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What if Ben Spies would have signed a contract with Rizla Suzuki GP? Would your opinion of him have been so high?



Honestly, I know one cannot detach themselves from hindsight, but would your opinion have been the same had he languished with midpack results on a Suzuki for a couple of years?



I've tried to dispel the idea that MotoGP is a level playingfield for a long time, yet its still our (me included) kneejerk reaction to conclude a rider's talent solely based on their results. Ben Spies did very well this year, but he did so on a machine that should be recognized as a derivative of the best package in the series this season. What if he had ridden on a Suzuki GP machine? Is anybody here willing to say Alvaro Bautista is the next "alien"? Well people are willing to tag Spies as the next "alien", if not one already. Can we really gage a rider's talent on sub par machines? I've contended that John Hopkins was a much better rider than the collective conscience of GP spectators are willing to admit, afterall, he never won a race. But he also never got beat by his teammate in all his years in MotoGP either (if gaging against somebody on similar equipment means anything). Well the very real possibility was that Ben Spies could have gone down as another John Hopkins, and again, we would have been basing our opinion on such a career killer that is Suzuki.



Every year at the end of the season there are rankings of riders, and inevitably, they rank them in their season end standings. But why? If we all know, or should know, that GP is NOT a level playing field. If one can accept that the "lower riders" (as Jeremy Burgess described them) are on sub par machines, then can we also say the reverse is true, the "aliens" are products of their superior machines? Why is it more acceptable to say, he's a "midpacker" when we all accept, or should accept, that their team-machine is of "midpack" quality? Ben Spies recently said that he found the electronics package to be a small increment better than on his satellite bike, yet as he put it, this meant a tenth here and there which over a 28 lap races would mean a 7 sec gap. And this is only a "small increment" better, in his word; what might be the case if that increment as a bit bigger, say in comparison to a Suzuki package?





When I think of where Ben Spies could have wound up, I cringe. But fortunately for him, all the planets aligned and he now finds himself on the factory Yamaha freshly vacated by the circumstance that have led Valentino to leave the seat. And though I believe Spies completely deserves the factory ride, I'd be willing to bet other riders would have faired better on a satellite Yamaha than they did on their Sat Ducati for example. Can we really gage the quality of rider that is a Buatista, or an A.Espargaro, or a Barberra, or Aoyama? When infact these guys battled day in day out in 250s amongst themselves, along with Simoncelli and Lorenzo for that matter. Yet in GP, you'd think they are 3rd tier riders. We will never know, but if Ben Spies had landed at Pramac Ducati, oh I wonder how many might have said, ah, just another failed "superbiker"?



But...it all worked out for the man.
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December 15th, 2010, 11:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Jumkie View Post
What if Ben Spies would have signed a contract with Rizla Suzuki GP? Would your opinion of him have been so high?


Of course it wouldn't, but as i've said plenty of times before there is a lot more to being a successful motorcycle racer than just how fast you can ride a bike. It also about what you can do off the track, how much money you have or can attract and what positions you can negotiate yourself into at any particular time. If Ben had signed for Suzuki instead of Yamaha then not only would that have almost certainly been a poor decision in itself it would also have harmed his ability to develop in other areas as he has with Yamaha. Credit to Ben for making all the right moves
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December 15th, 2010, 11:56 AM   #3
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Of course it wouldn't, but as i've said plenty of times before there is a lot more to being a successful motorcycle racer than just how fast you can ride a bike. It also about what you can do off the track, how much money you have or can attract and what positions you can negotiate yourself into at any particular time. If Ben had signed for Suzuki instead of Yamaha then not only would that have almost certainly been a poor decision in itself it would also have harmed his ability to develop in other areas as he has with Yamaha. Credit to Ben for making all the right moves


Well Tom, you make it sound like these guys can simply drive the offers being made to them. Their dream is to go to MotoGP, so he could have very well signed with Suzuki and not have predicted that Yamaha would have signed him (especially after Suzuki tried to attempt to blacklist him after he refused to ride for them at Assen.) You've held this opinion before to make your logic make sense, one I highly disagree with; and if you give it thought, its a bit unrealistic. The seats in GP are highly limited, and the good ones are even more rare. Infact, Suzuki didn't sign him and neither did any other GP team. So he ended up going to WSBK. So you are using highsight to say he made a good decision to hold out for Yamaha GP as if this was a known outcome. You in particular have concluded rider talent based on a lack of results at the GP level, then go back to saying its somehow their fault because they couldn't attract a better situation. Infact, this is the core of your reasoning in saying that Kevin Schwantz was overrated, as you put it, because he couldn't make happen what he needed to get himself on a better package. Well today its even more difficult then it was back then. Riders like Bayliss, while in GP looked to be 2nd tier riders were infact much better than GP results would indicate and flourished as the rightful talent they were in WSBK. But according to your logic, you would conclude they were not very good on GP machines or that they couldn't negotiate a better deal because they lacked some necessary fleeting quality that you haven't described?
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December 15th, 2010, 12:25 PM   #4
 
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Quote:
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Of course it wouldn't, but as i've said plenty of times before there is a lot more to being a successful motorcycle racer than just how fast you can ride a bike. It also about what you can do off the track, how much money you have or can attract and what positions you can negotiate yourself into at any particular time. If Ben had signed for Suzuki instead of Yamaha then not only would that have almost certainly been a poor decision in itself it would also have harmed his ability to develop in other areas as he has with Yamaha. Credit to Ben for making all the right moves




I'm not convinced it was that simple - after multiple AMA Superbike championships - on the make that dominated the series - it would not have been so far off the track if Ben had gone to WSBK on a Suzuki. True is that he performed brilliantly, consistently and progressively better than anyone else in WSBK. It's not clear to me what his great "off the track" achievements are outside of attracting the winningest manufacturer and sponsors or how you can separate these from having been earned purely through on track performance. Compared with Hopper, Bautista et al, Ben did come to the game after winning WSBK on what is the closest, even if technologically trailing thing to a MotoGP bike. His entrance to WSBK was eased by coming as multiple Championship winner in the worldwide next most prestigious SB series. I can hear the British rattling their Union Jacks already, but reality is that AMA Superbike sells a lot more bikes in the US, than the British series sells in the UK or anywhere else.



Ben was smart, lucky - whatever in going to Yamaha - and undeniably successful - For 2011 - what I'd really like to see is Ben whipping Hogay's ass
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December 15th, 2010, 12:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jumkie View Post
Well Tom, you make it sound like these guys can simply drive the offers being made to them. Their dream is to go to MotoGP, so he could have very well signed with Suzuki and not have predicted that Yamaha would have signed him (especially after Suzuki tried to attempt to blacklist him after he refused to ride for them at Assen.) You've held this opinion before to make your logic make sense, one I highly disagree with; and if you give it thought, its a bit unrealistic. The seats in GP are highly limited, and the good ones are even more rare. Infact, Suzuki didn't sign him and neither did any other GP team. So he ended up going to WSBK. So you are using highsight to say he made a good decision to hold out for Yamaha GP as if this was a known outcome. You in particular have concluded rider talent based on a lack of results at the GP level, then go back to saying its somehow their fault because they couldn't attract a better situation. Infact, this is the core of your reasoning in saying that Kevin Schwantz was overrated, as you put it, because he couldn't make happen what he needed to get himself on a better package. Well today its even more difficult then it was back then. Riders like Bayliss, while in GP looked to be 2nd tier riders were infact much better than GP results would indicate and flourished as the rightful talent they were in WSBK. But according to your logic, you would conclude they were not very good on GP machines or that they couldn't negotiate a better deal because they lacked some necessary fleeting quality that you haven't described?


Well Compa - we don't really know that for sure. It may well be that Bayliss' forte was the Superbike.

It certainly seems to be the case with Biaggi.



Re: Bautista - I've always been a huge fan. I very much believe he would be regularly top 4 or 5 on

a Honda or Yamaha customer bike. I've always rated him higher than Dovi. Simoncelli has talent -

but won't win another championship without more of the outrageously dangerous tactics he employed in the 250 class.



I believe Spies would have shined on the Suzuki, not podiumed. He'd have over-ridden it heroically

like he did the Yamaha superbike, something the listless Mr. Hopkins just isn't capable of.
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December 15th, 2010, 12:36 PM   #6
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I believe Spies would have shined on the Suzuki, not podiumed. He'd have over-ridden it heroically

like he did the Yamaha superbike, something the listless Mr. Hopkins just isn't capable of.


Well I think we found something we disagree on buddy. Isn't hindsight grand?



Quote:
Originally Posted by ptk50 View Post
I'm not convinced it was that simple - after multiple AMA Superbike championships - on the make that dominated the series - it would not have been so far off the track if Ben had gone to WSBK on a Suzuki. True is that he performed brilliantly, consistently and progressively better than anyone else in WSBK. It's not clear to me what his great "off the track" achievements are outside of attracting the winningest manufacturer and sponsors or how you can separate these from having been earned purely through on track performance. Compared with Hopper, Bautista et al, Ben did come to the game after winning WSBK on what is the closest, even if technologically trailing thing to a MotoGP bike. His entrance to WSBK was eased by coming as multiple Championship winner in the worldwide next most prestigious SB series. I can hear the British rattling their Union Jacks already, but reality is that AMA Superbike sells a lot more bikes in the US, than the British series sells in the UK or anywhere else.



Ben was smart, lucky - whatever in going to Yamaha - and undeniably successful - For 2011 - what I'd really like to see is Ben whipping Hogay's ass


Well I think we found something we finally agree on Ptk.
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December 16th, 2010, 12:39 AM   #7
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Well Tom,


Jumkie don't get me wrong i hear what you are saying. Where i take issue with your reasoning is in the 'scripted nature' side of your argument because you insinuate that the opportunities riders get are completely out of their hands and decided independant of their actions.
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December 16th, 2010, 06:25 AM   #8
 
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Jumkie don't get me wrong i hear what you are saying. Where i take issue with your reasoning is in the 'scripted nature' side of your argument because you insinuate that the opportunities riders get are completely out of their hands and decided independant of their actions.


I think that is where I misunderstood him. I agree that part of winning is landing the right spots, it just sound like the way junkie says it is that MotoGP is deciding who get those spots.



I also agree that some of the best talent never get the rides they deserve.
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December 16th, 2010, 11:25 AM   #9
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Tom & Rcramie, you didn't misunderstand me, I do think Dorna decides who gets those spots in a way, indirectly and directly, as part of the mechanism that graduates riders into the top category. Do you think its just rider talent that earns their way onto a good seat? Then explain what Karel Abraham is doing in the series. If that were the case, surely we would have had riders like Bayliss, Haga, Hodgson do better, shit I'll even include Mladin (since he cites a reluctance to move into MotoGP because he would have been relegated to a subpar team, and gaging from his multiple year battles with Spies, as well as gazillian AMA titles, we can pretty much assume he has talent). For example, are you aware Dorna subsidizes (this is scripting) some riders from certain countries so they can participate in the category? Take for example Kallio, to have a Fin. Its no secret that Dorna has been trying to get a Brit into the series.
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December 16th, 2010, 01:55 PM   #10
 
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Tom & Rcramie, you didn't misunderstand me, I do think Dorna decides who gets those spots in a way, indirectly and directly, as part of the mechanism that graduates riders into the top category. Do you think its just rider talent that earns their way onto a good seat? Then explain what Karel Abraham is doing in the series. If that were the case, surely we would have had riders like Bayliss, Haga, Hodgson do better, shit I'll even include Mladin (since he cites a reluctance to move into MotoGP because he would have been relegated to a subpar team, and gaging from his multiple year battles with Spies, as well as gazillian AMA titles, we can pretty much assume he has talent). For example, are you aware Dorna subsidizes (this is scripting) some riders from certain countries so they can participate in the category? Take for example Kallio, to have a Fin. Its no secret that Dorna has been trying to get a Brit into the series.


I think a lot of it is choices in the team you pick and luck to land on the good teams. I always expected any form of racing requires skill and luck to win races and championships I never thought any championship was won by a rider but more a team, rider, factory and crew working together to win.



I don't see Dorna subsidizes some riders from certain countries as scripting but trying to grown the series.



There is a lot of talent that never get the ride they deserve also a lot of riders who never even get a shot. Im ok with that it takes more than just talent to make it now days seats are limited and riders desperate. Now at least we know where we differ at on how we think about motogp.



On the VR I admire his personality and respect his records and championship he deserves the rides and spots he gets. Is there faster riders right now and coming up yes everybody dominance ends sooner or later. I think he still gonna be putting up a fight for the championship ( I think he will another one at least ) for a while to come.



I really don't have a fav. I got some more than others but I respect anybody that has the talent to make it to GP they are among a elite group of people who can do that.

My list of the ones I like

Nickey Hayden

Ben Spies

Collin Edwards

Casey Stoner

VR

Watching Simoncelli lately has him growing on me and I don't care if Capirossi is a back marker right now just happy to see him on a bike still.



One I dislike a lot in GP right now is Pedrosa for taking Hayden out. If he wins a championship for Honda I will forgive him. Im excited about the next two years in motoGP honda 4 rider team, Spies on a factory bike and VR Hayden back together its gonna be good.
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