Wosi I couldn't respond last night..
..I was too upset!
No point in discussing the Silverstone debacle, Stoner was convinced it would rain and he'd make the jump on everyone, all the talk was that it would. In hindsight it was a silly mistake though, and I think it lost him some credibility within his own team and was possibly even the catalyst to his eventual time out. I think it's pointless over analysing his temperament in respect to his choice, it was a racing decision and nothing more.
Going back to our original argument, I just don't buy into this notion that the Ducati went radically backwards under Stoner. I agree, the results don't appear to back up this theory, particularly when you take 07 into account. But that's not the whole picture is it?
Ducati had started work on the 07 bike in August 06 and had 20 variants of the 800cc engine, and had already track tested the bike in May of that year. The fact they capitalised on the slower start by their competitors only highlights why in 08 and beyond the gap grew narrower between marques. The fact is though, that bike and subsequent variants all remained competitive under Stoner. He had a run of 6 successive pole positions in 08 and ended the year on 280 points, the highest points haul without a championship win. In the first 9 races of 2009, his lowest position was 5th, before Silverstone and then his time off through illness. He comes back for a 2nd and two first place wins before crashing out at Valencia after dominating practice and taking pole. This isn't a bike in decline Wosi, he's still winning races and dominating the field and bearing in mind, we're now onto the CF chassis by this point, much derided by his critics. 2010 is arguably his worst year on the bike even though his points tally is higher than the previous season. He has issues with arm pump and continuing problems with the front end of the bike, but it's likely that by this stage he's already made his mind up to go elsewhere. However, he's still competitive and is winning races and let's not forget, Yamaha and Honda are making huge strides too at this time so none of his competitors are standing still - a point you make so strongly in relation to the current set up.
It's not until Rossi get's on the bike there's a noticeable dip in performance, even though you have continually told us their respective times are similar. During the period Stoner was on the bike, none of the other companies stood still as you would have us believe. According to you, Rossi's times look bad because his competitors all made progress, insinuating that Ducati hadn't. And yet, the bike was always there or thereabouts during Casey's tenure, with 2007 being the noticeable highlight. So, I'm inclined to think that either Rossi didn't pull his finger out, or through too much tinkering, they made matters worse...