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Rossi is right in what he says. At any given track you would have to say that he won't beat any of the Works or Satellite Jap bikes, so to finish 7th he, or Nicky, will have to beat at least one of them. Also he is invariably the top Ducati finisher so I suppose he should know it's potential.
Speculation on whether Stoner, or anyone else, could put it higher is futile but I suppose we'll find out next year.
As regards to whether Rossi is a failure is open to question, he and his team haven't finished the job yet. Anyway the Ducati boss has held his hand up and admitted that they couldn't deliver the upgrades fast enough which is why they couldn't keep him for next year.