I admit that this post is about 2 days too late, but I felt it was still relevant to comment on last weekend's MotoGP race in China. After an amazing qualifying run, Rossi just didn't have what it took to beat the raw power of the Ducati GP7, ridden by Stoner.
The "wonder from down under" finished the race with a solid 3 second lead on Rossi, who just couldn't keep up. Rossi was constantly battling, and gave Stoner an excellent run, but a late-braking mistake with 7 laps remaining caused Rossi to fall significantly back, a loss he could not recoup.
John Hopkins performed amazingly in China as well (3rd place), which must make the Rizla Suzuki team happy as pigs in mud (especially when you consider teammate Chris Vermeulen's 7th position finish). The Suzuki team finally seems to be coming into its own, and could be a force to reckon with in subsequent races.
The elder Ducati rider, Loris Capirossi ended the race in 6th position, a full 26 seconds back of Stoner. I'm not sure what's up with Capirex this season, but it appears as though his age is finally starting to show. After an exceptional year last season, and the incredible gift of a bike Ducati has presented him with, I definitely pictured him near the top of the point standings at this point in MotoGP season.
Also notable in China was the 12th place finish of Honda rider (and current #1 plaque-holder) Nicky Hayden. This is another wretched season that cannot be blamed on the bikes, given the success of Hayden's teammate, Dani Pedrosa. It seems as though "The Kentucky Kid" just can't handle the heat of being #1.
Final standings (Top 5) in Shanghai:
1. Casey Stoner (DUC) - 44'12.891
2. Valentino Rossi (YAM) - 44'15.927
3. John Hopkins (SUZ) - 44'19.554
4. Dani Pedrosa (HON) - 44'26.981
5. Marco Melandri (HON) - 44'30.167
Current World Standings (Top 5):
Casey Stoner (DUC) - 86
Valentino Rossi (YAM) - 71
Dani Pedrosa (HON) - 49
Marco Melandri (HON) - 41
John Hopkins (SUZ) - 39