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Simo was on a factory bike with HRC engineers in his crew. He really didn't accomplish much on track in MotoGP and I could never see him replacing Caswey or Dani at Repsol before his tragic accident. I don't think they would have given him the nod over Marquez if that decision had to be made.
Rossi proved he was wrong on two counts. Its not 80/20 rider/bike like he claimed. Its also not 80/20 its probably closer to 50/50. A great rider will amplify the strengths of a bike and limit the weaknesses. The better the bike/rider combo the better the resulst. Put guys with Talent like Jorge and Dani on solid platforms and they will be hard to beat. Stoner is the anomoly in the equation, Cal has not shown he is one. Last years bike was very close to factory spec, he said it himself, it will only get harder for him which I think is true no matter what bike spec he's on. I also think he'll be racing with the same guys this year as last.