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The past is very much relevant in regards to Rossi's potential this year in that the last time he was on a competitive bike he was in the running for top spot. I see nothing to suggest that he won't be as fast(or faster) than Lorenzo this year. To suggest that he's "past it" is simply not warranted and I believe is only suggested by the anti-Rossi brigade(you know who you are). How he'll do against the Hondas is anyone's guess as they look (as always) very fast.
The bike Stoner inherited for 2007 was already a race winning bike and would've been a serious contender for the 2006 championship in Capirossi's hands if not for the crash. Stoner did have to ride the thing in 07 so good on him, well earned. The following years were littered with crashes and poor results so to suggest that Stoner was a player in those years on that bike is total bs. Sorry guys but it's true.