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What exactly constitutes failing? As I see it, if he lands in the top 3 at the end of the season, he has done well and proven that he still has what it takes to ride at the pointy end. If he pulls off a championship win, he will have seriously pulled a rabbit out of the hat (..which isn't meant to imply that I think he is incapable by any means). The Rossi haters will lament anything other than a championship win as a "failure" and claim that he's "past it", "should retire" or whatever.
..and you're right, if he does win races (which I'm sure he'll win quite a few) or the championship, the haters will constantly bring up the pitfalls of the Ducati because they dislike him. The more reasonable members will let it be because they know that, outside of our favorite Australian outlier, nobody else would succeed on it either.....and even HE might have a problem winning on it today. We'll never know though!