AMA Supersport Racer
Join Date: May 2006
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I think a bit of it is the Invincibility factor. The other riders view the Suzuki/Spies/Mladin combo as somewhat invincible so maybe they are not doing all they can to beat them. More importantly, other riders might have taken a slight hit on their confidence. Even a little bit of doubt can affect your competitiveness.
I think it was the same thing with Rossi in GP's. People thought he was unbeatable so I think before the race even started their confidence was already damaged. I think a very poignant and insightful comment by someone in Faster (Wayne Rainey maybe?) was that it would take someone who was not currently in the championship to beat Rossi. Lo and behold, here come the new guys. In Nicky's case he didn't beat Rossi on talent, he beat him on hard work and consistency. No one put in more laps in testing than Nicky all of last year and he never crashed in a race except for when Dani took him out. Stoner has come out and just blitzed the field and more importantly, did not crack under the pressure, even in head to head fights with Rossi.
Now that the others know Rossi is beatable they are not holding back against him and are taking the fight to him. Not that they are always successful but you can definitely see that the other riders are not treating him like God anymore.
Getting back to the AMA, I think the point Ben made about testing laps is a very good one. If anyone wants to beat them they are going to have to put in as much or more work than them in every facet (testing, training, nutrition, practice, qualifying, etc.). And they cannot sit back and accept that their bike[Suzuki] is better, that's an excuse.