Originally posted by Gixxer_Dave
The might of Honda and Ducati will kick the Yamaha and the joke of a Suzuki (see I'm not biased) all year. Rossi will be in a tin top come 2005
Can't really agree with you there on Ducati beating Rossi/Yamaha...
However, agree that Rossi is going to face an overwhelming task trying to beat Honda.
I read the below article, and think it pretty much sums things up:
With Rossi on a Yamaha, Ducati may find in hard to hold their place as Honda’s top challenge. For Honda beating Rossi will be a Holy War and for Yamaha failing to win even with Rossi would be a disaster. Ducati, more than most, will be concerned at the prospect of seeing Colin Edwards on an RC211V. They will remember that the Texan won the last nine races in a row at the end of the 2002 Superbike season to win the title for Honda, beating Ducati and Troy Bayliss in the process, the most devastating end of season effort and success that I can recall.
Ducati engineers are probably wishing Rossi had stayed home with Honda because rhetoric from HRC executives leaves little doubt that the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer will make a supreme effort in 2004 with a six-rider line-up of potential champions: Edwards, Gibernau, Hayden, Biaggi, Barros and Tamada.
Next year there will be four Ducati V4s on the grid with the addition of the new D’Antin Ducati team with Neil Hodgson and a second rider to be named shortly (Rubén Xaus if D’Antin gets his way). But this will be a “B” team using this year’s machines while the Marlboro team will use the latest developments from the Ducati factory.
Add to Ducati’s work load the World Superbike team of James Toseland and Regis Laconi and the responsibility to build 999 RS racers for another four or five teams, plus the commitment to run a works team in the AMA Superbike Championship, and you see that this little factory, in spite of Marlboro’s millions, is in up to its neck. Ducati accountants will be watching carefully to make sure that Ducati, taken to the brink of bankruptcy by racing efforts in the past, does not exceed its capacity. Ducati work without a net.
If sales of Ducati road bikes can be seen to benefit and the numbers remain black, Ducati will be able to sustain this worldwide racing effort. Clearly Ducati scared Honda early in the 2003 season but now Rossi’s move to Yamaha has put Honda on red alert and a 100% effort from HRC could be more than either Ducati or Yamaha can resist in 2004.