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NH is a victim of the way MotoGP has turned into a 'done deal' where unless your face fits and you are on one of only 4 fully competitive bikes, then your career aspirations can never be realised.
Nicky's has only ever looked really outpaced by one teammate (since retired). Neither Vale nor Dovi have been able to blow him into the weeds on the same kit.
Which means the guy has speed. Imagine IF MotoGP had a sensible structure where a lot more bikes were even and capable of winning - he'd have an opportunity to demonstrate that pace in a fair n square competition.
Instead, he's circulated mid-pack with VR, but VR has the marketability to get a Yamaha, but Nicky can only get a slow bike or shown the door.
Personally I can't imagine the frustration of ANY MotoGP racer NOT on a factory HRC or Yam, let alone Nicky's seasons at Ducati. No wonder plenty of top guys are happy to ride WSBK where at least they might have a hope in hell of a competitive ride.