I very rarely contribute anything to this forum these days, primarily because most of the content seems to be posted by wind-up merchants, haters, keyboard commandos, illiterates and juveniles. There only has to be the slightest mention of the words “Rossi” or “Stoner” and the verbal battles commence. For the record, I'm a Rossi fan. I'm also a Lorenzo, Bradl, Crutchlow, Dovi, Edwards, Hayden, Redding, Luthi, Smith, Kent, Vinales, Guintoli, Haslam, Rea, Sykes, Laverty (all 3), Haga and lots and lots of others fan. I don't like Casey Stoner, but I am in awe of the way he can ride a bike.
Lets try and remember that these people ride motorcycles for a living. That's all. They don't do anything to hurt us, so do they deserve to be “hated”? I mean, to all you Stoner “haters” out there. What exactly has he done to you? To quote James Toseland, has he killed your Nan? Is he a child molester? Even worse than that, is he a banker? No. He gets paid monstrous amounts of money to race a motorbike. Similarly with Rossi. What has he done other than win 9 World Championships and help bring bike racing to our TV screens most weekends? If you really believe we'd have the level of coverage on the TV that we get now had he not been around, I think you'll find that few who are really in the know will agree with you. Rossi is box office, a showman, and Dorna know it, and are trying to plan for the day he hangs up his leathers. I believe that Marco was part of that plan, but now there is no natural successor to #46. It is 100% right that no one rider is bigger than the sport, but if that one rider's retirement sees a huge drop in TV audiences across the world, get prepared for less bike sport on the box.
Instead of getting all menstrual over whether Stoner is better than Rossi or vice versa, as bike sport fans, we should be far more concerned about the power that the whole Repsol – Honda tie-up has in the Moto GP paddock, and the huge benefits that a rider gets from that tie-up if he happens to have been born in Spain. Nowadays its quite a rarity to hear anything other than the Marcha Real played at rostrum time, and unlike the American dominance of a few years back, this trend seems a lot less stoppable.