After losing out to Sete Gibernau in Africa two weeks previously, World Champion Valentino Rossi proved his doubters wrong with a dominate display in last Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, beating nearest rival Max Biaggi by 6secs.

But the story of the weekend was arguably the continued rise of Ducati, who took not only their first ever MotoGP pole position, courtesy of Loris Capirossi, but also a one-two on the starting grid.

The race - and even the warm-up lap - didn't go so well for the boys from Bologna, but Capirossi thrilled the 128,000 fans with his high-speed power slides, while Bayliss would claim his first GP podium following his team-mates exit, in a shower of sparks, on lap 13.

We asked:

We asked you, the Crash.net viewers, to share your opinions with the rest of the motorcycling world on a number of issues arising from Jerez.

These are listed briefly below:

1) Kato's replacement Ryuichi Kiyonari and Gibernau having the 2003 spec RCV.

2) The continued disqualification of Harris WCM.

3) Suzuki revival?

4) Ducati's first pole and Bayliss/Capirossi rating.

5) Race day performers and future expectations.

Viewers were invited to address as many points as they liked, with no subject out of bounds.

What you said:

"1) With most riders under contract, Honda didn't really have a chance of signing another potential race winner to replace Kato, so giving Kiyonari the ride is probably the right thing to do - HRC can help turn him into a champion in the same way they did Kato. Kiyonari has proven his speed in Japan, but it remains to be seen if he can carry that performance into MotoGP with all the extra pressure, new tracks, foreign lifestyle etc.

"Sete having the works bike is a good decision, although with all the money Pramac have pumped into GP racing, I would imagine they will want at least one of their contracted riders (Biaggi or Tamada) on a factory machine soon. Why pay all that money for anything but the best.

"2) The Harris WCM situation is nothing less than embarrassing. It shouldn't take until the second race for the FIM to suddenly decide the bike isn't legal. From Peter Clifford's comment, the rules just aren't clear enough and WCM can't be blamed for that.

"3) It would be nice to think that Suzuki are on the up again after two year's in the wilderness, but despite Jerez, they still look to be behind Honda, Ducati and Yamaha. Maybe they're now equal with Aprilia, or maybe Edwards/Haga just had an off day.

"Hopper rode superbly, he gives the impression of never giving up and fighting to the end of every session - bit like Capirossi. Roberts just makes himself look bad by moaning all the time, but then maybe being a former champion he feels he should make his opinions known. Hopkins might agree, but being only 19 and the new boy in the team he doesn't want to kick up a fuss. Kenny can see his career going down the pan and it's clearly getting to him.

"Its hard to say how Hopper compares with the other Americans, Edwards has the best reputation, but we'll have to see if that's still the case at the end of the year - he hasn't had to ride a non-race winning bike for years, not sure how he'll cope, he didn't exactly set the world alight at Jerez.

"Hopkins already looks a match for Roberts and Hayden is still finding his feet. Suzuki better make sure (Hopkins') contract is watertight.

"3) What Ducati have done is nothing less than superb. The bike is clearly race winningly quick, but not able to run at that pace for the full distance, for whatever reason. Maybe the tyres get chewed with all the sliding, but then Rossi was getting sideways too.

"Capirossi has DNF'd twice in three races, but his expectations are higher than Troy's. A podium is a real achievement for the Aussie so soon in his career, but wouldn't mean much to Loris, he's had plenty of them, he wants wins and is prepared to crash rather than finish second.

"5) Rossi was 'The Man' on Sunday, riding perfectly and pushing as and when needed. Biaggi did well, but lost a little every lap and that's all that was needed - I really wish he was on the same bike as Vale, the difference between them could be clearly determined as either rider or machine then.

"As far as other teams' expectations for 2003, Yamaha should aim for a win, but the title's gone, Ducati the same, Aprilia and Suzuki a podium, Proton a top five finish, Kawasaki a top-ten in race and qualifying and Harris WCM a points finish. I think that's a realistic maximum."

Chris Cullam - Northampton, UK


"I think we all knew that Rossi would win the championship this season along with the majority of the races - he is the best man on the best bike. I was interested in seeing who could challenge him for race wins, would it be the new Ducati, Pramac Camel Honda, Yamaha, etc.

"The Ducati was always going to be good, they know how to build a bike from their many WSB successes but its not quite there yet. We saw at Jerez that Capirossi was riding it sideways to stay in front whilst Rossi looked in complete control - ultimately it was Capirossi's downfall I feel. Also in the last lap or so Rossi was show boating, just letting the other competitors know that he can ride the Honda sideways if/when he needs to.

"Biaggi looks like he can get consistently close, but consistent seconds are not good enough when your rival get consistent wins I guess. He's been complaining about not having factory kit, he can see the difference on race day, but Biaggi has been known to have occasional whinge when things aren't going his way.

"I'm disappointed that Barros got injured at the opening round, Suzuka. At the end of last season he was the only person to live with Rossi once he had the RCV. As Barros becomes more fit we might see a Yamaha closer to the front but is the bike good enough to give him race wins?

"As for Kato's replacement, Honda desperately want a Japanese rider to win the world championship for them, maybe Tamada, maybe Kiyonari somewhere down the line but not too soon I think.

"I was talking to a guy who had been making parts for WCM all last week, he was hopeful they'd get in the next meeting as all involved have been working extremely hard to get around the rules that exclude them currently. Personally I think they made a mistake mentioning the R1 had anything to do with it as MotoGP is a class of prototypes only (everyone has 20:20 hindsight). Any way it'll good to see more bikes on the grids what ever.

"A final note, for anyone in the UK who does not have Sky I'm sure you will agree, the BBC are t*^ts. They have the most entertaining type of motor sport on TV and only show 20mins of racing. I say sell the rights back to Channel 5 as they made a proper job of showing it. If I had my way..."

Nick Stringer - Norfolk, UK

"Honda were right to give Gibernau the 2003 bike, but what were two proven winners' (he and Biaggi) doing on last year's RCVs anyway...? Especially when someone like Hayden has a potentially title wining bike.

"No disrespect to Hayden, but it's his first year in GPs and he must have been dreaming if he thought he was going to come in and destroy the likes of Rossi, Biaggi and Capirossi - would having a 2002 machine really have made that much difference to him.

"Having a factory bike is good, but with it comes a lot of pressure, which I don't think is necessarily in Hayden's best interest at this stage.

"Good to see Melandri back in action, but it seemed a very early return and I was relieved he didn't drop it (seriously) again and re-break his leg. Marco showed his talent yet again, he just seemed to be let down by fitness. His team-mate Checa was unlucky, but just hasn't looked like someone who believes in himself so far this year.

"Hopkins could pick up where Roberts left off as America's next world champ, but not for a while yet, and - as with Edwards - it depends on the machinery Suzuki/Aprilia can provide them with. I think Hayden has what it takes too, but it's too early to say for sure. He has a lot to learn.

"Ducati have created a lot of fuss in the early rounds, and rightfully so, Bayliss could emerge as their best chance of a first title in the future - he looks smoother than Capirossi and a better bet over a whole season - but I'm not sure if Bayliss would put everything on the line if he had to.

"Bayliss rides the bike to its limit but rarely beyond, as we saw when he took a safe third in Jerez, Capirossi is a bit more emotional and will do whatever it takes to stay with the frontrunners. It might not be the best way to win a title, but its great to see a bike as fearsome as the Ducati being thrown around and generally having its neck wrung."

John McCormack - Wellington, NZ

"1) Time will tell if Gresini made the right decision. Maybe they could have given a few riders a 'shoot-out' - perhaps Rolfo, Kiyonari and other Jap championship/250GP contenders - that way the next generation would have a chance to impress on an RCV and Honda couldn't be accused of unfairly influencing any decision.

"2) Not sure about Harris WCM's situation, but hope they'll be back on the grid soon.

"3) Suzuki should have been where they were at Jerez a lot sooner, so instead of a revival I'd say it was more like where they should have been to begin with. Roberts is good when he's in contention to win, but gives up when he isn't.

"Hopkins gives his all, but time will tell if he can develop the team technically at such a young age and with little inexperience. He is probably benefiting from Kenny's input in that way.

"4) Ducati have built a great bike, but it does seem to have some major flaws in a race situation, Capirossi and Bayliss were finished, as far as having a chance of winning, by around a quarter of the way through on Sunday. They have a long way to go to beat Rossi.

"That said both riders are giving everything and seem to compliment each other well. It will be interesting to see if Bayliss improving almost every race will cause friction between the riders, should he continue to steal Capirossi's glory.

"5) Once Rossi got to the front the race was effectively over, but Ukawa, Barros, Tamada and Hopkins entertained behind. Think we saw the real MotoGP order in Jerez after two fly away races - Honda clear up front, then Ducati clear of the rest, followed by Yamaha, then Suzuki, Proton and Aprilia 'tied' in fourth, followed by Kawasaki."

Tom Williams - Brisbane, Australia

"1) It's good that Gibernau has a 2003 bike, Telefonica won't have liked bringing all their money to the Gresini team with Gibernau, only for him to be treated 'second class'. Then again, I can't understand Honda not giving Biaggi a works bike - runner-up in the series and Rossi's only rival for so long on a Yamaha, he joins Honda and what do they do... give him last year's bike!

"HRC should be delighted to have their main title rival join them and treat him as an equal, rather than manipulating who can win races by handing out the best bikes to their favourites.

"3) Hopper's definitely on the up after a strong debut year with Red Bull Yamaha. That season taught him how hard GPs are, which is useful for him as the Suzuki isn't going to win races this year.

"Hopkins and Nicky Hayden should get better as the year goes on, but their situations are totally different - Hopkins isn't expected to perform up front every race, but Hayden is. I hope that won't get to him, the last thing Nicky needs to do is override and crash, as he did at Jerez.

"4) Ducati have done the impossible and built a bike capable of taking pole in only its third race - that's no fluke and Honda will soon have a fight on their hands. The main problem for Capirossi and Bayliss is that the Michelins don't seem to last as long for Ducati, some say that's the bikes/riders fault, but it could be that they're in a similar situation to the majority of Bridgestone guys in F1 - Ferrari have tyres built to suit their car and the rest have to make the best of them.

"5) Speaking of Bridgestone, Tamada and the KR boys proved in the race that they're fast becoming a match for Michelin - who knows what McWilliams and Aoki will do with them on a V5. Behind Rossi, Tamada and Hopkins rode the best by far - two young guys making Ukawa and the recovering Barros earn their factory rides with MotoGP's (traditionally) top teams.

"Biaggi had a quiet, almost tactical (?) race, he could be biding his time and collecting points - he shouldn't be ruled out as a contender should Rossi falter.

"Rossi won't be able to match his number of wins from last year, but the title should be his. Ducati could pick up a few wins as they continue to improve and might even start 2004 as favourites if the Desmosedici develops to its full potential.

"Kawasaki might as well start with a full redesign and drop Dunlop tyres - nothing against them but there just seems to be too many unknowns at the moment and Kawasaki are grasping at straws to try and sort the thing out. At least they could rule out a tyre difference if they could get hold of Michelins or even Bridgestones.

"Suzuki also need to pull something out of the bag, "the bike's still new" excuse only lasts for so long and sooner or later they'll have to deliver. Aprilia could be the first to join Honda, Ducati and Yamaha as potential winners, their development over the winter has been second only to Ducati."

Alexander Turner - London, England

"I'm a Ducati fan, and so was surprised and disappointed to read about the collision between Troy and Loris on the warm-up lap, who knows how much better they could have been in the race without damaging each other, and their bikes.

"Troy must accept most of the responsibility, why was he going so slow on the back straight...? He said originally that everyone in front of him slowed down, then that he slowed down of his own accord because he didn't want to get to the grid first. Anyway, hope a lesson is learnt and that he can build on his fantastic first podium.

"It will be hard for them to catch Rossi this year, but a home win at Mugello would be perfect in their first season!"

Dominic Fiore - Italian, living in America

"1) Biaggi doesn't deserve anything more than what he has for a very simple reason: he was already on the right Bike back in 1998, what he had to do was to be quiet for a while in the shadow of Mick (Doohan) and then it would had been his turn.

"Afterwards he has been continuously complaining for not having the same machinery support, which is sort of pitiful for one that is supposed to be a champion. Doesn't he sign contracts? Well if he gets what he signed for, better concentrate on the development for the rhythm of the race. Nevertheless he is the only one who can stay constantly not too far from the Doctor.

"2) Rossi is basically already Champion, because he doesn't even need to necessarily win races, he will be second anyway; meanwhile there will be maybe five guys taking turns in the first spot

"Crash.net is really the ultimate complete Motoring site, better than the Official Ones, because it's very fast, with information we want, figures, data, etc. Of course being fast sometimes can be tricky: In the Jerez coverage you mentioned De Angelis in the 250cc event instead of De Puniet (apologies - Crash.net).

"Compliments and regards,"

A.B. - Manila

"Had Sete been on the podium on Sunday it would have made Honda's decision look a lot better, then again he was on provisional pole - trouble is the race proved he's still a tad too emotional at times, shame.

"Having Bayliss and Edwards in MotoGP has made the series a real world championship and both have been exceptional in their own ways. Bayliss has had the limelight, but then on that Ducati he should do, Edwards' efforts are more behind the scenes at the moment with development, but his time will come.

"Haga had a better race on Sunday, beating Colin, he still seems to struggle on Michelins, but one look at the Kawasakis should make him get his head down and concentrate on getting them to suit him. Haga seems to struggle with developing a bike, he was his old self on an Aprilia (in WSBK), but that had been sorted by Corser.

"The race was a bit dull at the front after Capirossi crashed, Proton Team KR and Hopper's girlfriend complained that they never get TV coverage, and I have to agree that the battles down field, including McCoy speedway riding at the back should have been shown when things got static, maybe they did and I missed it... Because of the BBC.

"Dorna have scored a home goal in giving them MotoGP coverage, they're just not prepared to upset the daily schedules for motorsport - CH5 were and they should have kept it. Dorna were probably star struck at having the BBC show the sport, but the highlights show on Sunday night is useless, too much waffle and then a cut-and-shut race. Eurosport must be laughing, it's the best advert they've ever had."

Robert McAllister - Scotland, UK

"1) Honda made the right decision in giving Gibernau the factory spec bike. As Daijiro's team mate, they really could not have done his memory the same justified service by awarding the bike to anyone else. I think the Honda top brass are correct to infuse more Japanese talent into the grid. Kato's loss is catastrophic as he is one of a handful of truly gifted riders and was Japan's best bar none.

"Biaggi should have a factory bike if only so that he and Rossi could duke it out mano a mano.

"2) If all was clear from the word go Harris would have either complied or not fielded a team period. It is incumbent upon the governing bodies to define the parameters as concisely and clearly as possible to prevent just this sort of debacle.

"3) Kenny Roberts should go back to AMA or some such class. The MotoGP paddock needs to represent the creme dela creme, Roberts' time has passed.

"4) It should not be missed nor misconstrued that Ducati have shown what we loyal supporters and riders have long known - Ducati are a legitimate force in the industry and in the race business. This is no flash in the pan.

"Look at Yamaha's season last year where they pretty much changed the bike radically from race to race and wound up with a completely different bike. Ducati have come in working with a concept that is showing incredible potential and is merely in need of fine tuning. Consider that their bike uses desmodromic valves and a trellis frame as do all Ducatis and their achievement is even more phenomenal. Viva Ducati Corse!

"5) Much as I am loathe to admit it, the most impressive performance of the day was Rossi's dominance of the race following a poor start from the second row. His controlled sliding technique was so masterful when contrasted with Biaggi's who seemed to be tiptoeing around the corners that Rossi rode as though on rails. No wonder he ran the lap times he did.

"Rossi has command of the ability to envision the race as a series of laps put together to ensure winning. He is so comfortable with the pace at which he rides that he never appears to be pushing it.

"The most impressive result was Troy Bayliss' podium finish. Despite the stigma attached to WSBK riders who move up to GPs, and it is up, he has shown progressive improvement and he already has championship winning race craft.

"The other manufacturers should really look at their programs and work to have bikes that their riders can be competitive on. They are woefully off pace and this creates the massive hole in the field from mid-pack on back.

"Aprilia are going to show well despite the misfortunes of the South African GP. They are going to get their best riding out of Haga despite the hype surrounding Edwards. Yamaha are racing for 3rd behind Ducati and the phalanx of Hondas. The other teams need to step it up.

"The title is in no way sown up for Rossi but he still is the most likely to win. Theoretically, Bayliss could win as could Biaggi or Capirossi if only for two matters: If they start beating Rossi out of the win at least and if they can ride consistently. This is where Rossi is head and shoulders above the rest. He can exhibit utter command and control of his race approach and pace where others are at their limits just trying to keep up.

"This is what I think!"

Ngoli

Crash.net would like to thank all those that replied to the "...Have your say" request for taking the time to share their opinions with the rest of the two-wheeled world. Without them, this article would not have been possible.