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Mullet, some points. First off, I don't think Nicky is one of the top 3-4 riders in the world, but he certainly deserves to be in MotoGP. He's won a title, fair and square, regardless of what people say about Rossi's poor season.
-Nicky couldn't really develop the bike much when dani was hurt because the major design of the bike was already done. at that point it's mostly doing small tweaks. The year Nicky got to do major development work before the season, 2006, he won the title.
Nicky didn't complain about the engine so much, he complained about the combo of the 2008 frame with the 2007 engine. Since he got the 08 engine in 08 frame, he's been fast, he's just had mechanical failures.