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I agree with him. He lags behind. From the beginning of his new adventure I said (and wrote) that only if he managed to get within half a second of the top he might have a chance. He just did!!! Exactly half a second. Still he isn't cutting that gap to the front. So, for me, there is no doubt: Rossi is (as I always said) not his former self, he hasn't the speed and pace he once has, his countless years at the top (more than his age on his ID card) made him lose that spark. He is an old racer. Moreso, he is an old champion. He won more than anyone else in the modern age, and once he won too much you end up loosing that motivation to try that extra bit (and that young guys and that didn't win that much still have).
Rossi is fast but not champion-fast. Not anymore. Get him a time machine, get him 7 years younger and he would win 5 or 6 races in a row.