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Not sure I would agree with MD's assessment that Rossi is at the bottom of the slope, but I think any unbiased person must accept that Rossi peaked a few years back, and is simply not the force he once was, especially after his various injuries.
A new generation is coming forward ... Lorenzo, Stoner, & Simoncelli ... and this is always the way. What's clear is that they no longer fear Rossi. Once upon a time, Rossi was so in peoples' heads that he had virtually won the race before it kicked off. Nowadays, he is just far less relevant and no longer a genuine threat.