An Addendum to Valentino Rossi’s Options for the Future

04/30/2012 @ 4:12 pm, by Jensen Beeler42 COMMENTS

An Addendum to Valentino Rossis Options for the Future Valentino Rossi

If you haven’t already read David Emmett’s excellent analysis of Valentino Rossi’s options in MotoGP, you owe it to your MotoGP-loving self to sit down and digest David’s thorough game theory walk-through on the nine-time World Champion’s prospects in the premier class.

David’s analysis is spot-on, and approaches the impending 2012 mega silly season from a logical point-of-view (for those who aren’t keeping track, virtually every contract in MotoGP is up for renewal this year). I don’t disagree with any point David has penned, but I wanted to add one line-item to his analysis: some discussion about Rossi’s post-motorcycle racing career, and how it influences The Doctor’s choices this coming contract renewal period.

Never say never, but few are expecting Valentino Rossi to hang up his spurs at the end of the 2012 MotoGP Championship. Going out on a career low-point is certainly not the Italian’s style, especially as it casts a particularly dark shadow on a career that has enjoyed the bright-light superlative of “Greatest of All Time” from some of motorcycling’s most knowledgeable sources.

Hoping to cast that phrase with an underlined typeface, and not with an interrogatory question mark, there is sufficient evidence to believe that Rossi will want to end his career in a way that will leave no doubt about the nine-time World Champion’s abilities. The question of course is how those final seasons will play out, and who they will be with.

The 10,000 Hour Rule:

Turing down my own chance at a professional athletic career (college sounded like a way better idea than sailing boats for a living), I have always been intrigued with the endgame to an athlete’s career. Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story to Success proposes the idea that it take 10,000 hours to truly master and be skilled at a given task, in our example we will of course be talking motorcycle racing.

In order to achieve such a duration, one must essentially work at their craft for eight hours a day, five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, for five years. For a motorcycle racer, I would argue that time does not include the hours in the gym training, eating right, and pounding pavement for sponsorships. That is 10,000 hours on a bike, riding hard, and risking injury. Add in the cost of track time, machinery, travel, and expendables, and the picture as to why we have so few outliers in motorcycle racing starts to take shape — not to mention why so many of the riders at the top of the sport started when they were teenagers or younger.

Natural talent surely plays a huge element in this process, and can catapult a young athlete into the process, but Gladwell surmises that it still takes 10,000 hours of practice and routine to hone a person into a truly special instrument of their craft. That is to say in motorcycling terms that Valentino Rossi surely could have risen through motorcycle racing’s ranks on his talent alone, but what made him the G.O.A.T. was the Italian’s hard work that spans more than two decades.

The Window of Opportunity:

This brings us to the crux of being a professional athlete, as for many sports the peak of ones career also comes during the peak of one’s physique. Motorcycle racing is a bit different in this regard, as we have examples of the positively geriatric Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi wiping the floor with the younger riders in World Superbike, but then again motorcycle racing is also a sport comprised of both man and machine. While physically demanding, one’s success does not solely rest of their physical abilities (contrast this to a sport like quarter-mile sprinting, for example).

Despite not being a completely physically-based sport, it should surprise no one that around their mid-30’s the end of a rider’s career becomes a lingering question. Hitting those golden years at the same time as a major transition in his on-track performance, we have invariably linked Valentino Rossi’s ailing results to the waning years of him racing a motorcycle, and the discussions have begun to revolve around not “if” but “when” Rossi exits MotoGP.

Most of those questions have centered around what will become of MotoGP, a story worthy of its own post, so I won’t digress here. But, the question should also be asked of what will become of Valentino Rossi. Imagine for a minute that since you were a young man, you have worked to become good at just one thing in life. You have spent 10,000 hours actually practicing what you do, and even more countless hours supporting that endeavor. Living a one-dimensional life in this regard, the window to achieve your success is small, and by your 40’s, virtually no one continues in that sport. So question has to be asked, what do you do afterwards?

The Tragedy of Having No Endgame Strategy:

The role of an athlete, post-sporting career, falls into two camps: those who fade away from the sport, and those who linger in a different capacity. Pick up a starting grid list from 10 or 15 years, and play the “whatever happened to…” game with any number of the riders you find. Some of those men were able to fallback on an amassed wealth that will let them and their family lead comfortable lives in retirement, while others squandered their earnings and struggle to make ends meet. Watching Mark Neale’s Faster, I was shocked to hear that after his injuries Gary McCoy was going to go hang dry wall at his brother’s construction business.

I have never seen too many financial advisors roaming the makeshift city that is the MotoGP paddock, so I always cringe when I hear about some of the “investments” riders make. For example, Ben Spies just opened up a burger joint in Dallas area. I know from my business background that restaurants are one of the worst entrepreneurial endeavors one can make as they require huge amounts of capital, carry a ton of overhead expenses, make razor-thin margins, and are subject to fickle culinary trends.

Maybe Ben has a portfolio that is absolutely killing it in this roller coaster stockmarket. Maybe Mr. Elbowz just loves him some hamburgers, and had a little extra cash laying around. Or just maybe, no one took the 27-year-old aside and said, “You five more years to make all the money you will ever be able to live on. Spend it prudently.” I don’t pretend to have the inside-scoop on any one rider’s financial situation, but if the rock & roll lifestyle have taught us anything, it is that the “can’t touch this” financial attitude can do in even the biggest of stars. In other news, the Grandfather of American road racing recently put his house and part of his motorcycle collection up for sale.

Motorcycling’s Golden Parachute:

Contrast that line of reasoning with the fact that a number of the team owners in the MotoGP paddock were racers once, as were some of the media personalities, industry executives, etc. For instance, Monster Tech3 Yamaha, the top satellite team in MotoGP, is owned by an ex-racer: Hervé Poncharal — and the same can be said of LCR Honda & Gresini Racing, which see their team principals both having earlier careers in GP racing.

Walk around the GP paddock long enough, and you’ll find Randy Mamola who is the traveling brand ambassador for a number of companies involved with the sport. Similarly, you will now find three-time World Champion Loris Capirossi serving in a new capacity, as he has become the link between the riders, Dorna, and Bridgestone. The list goes on, but the point is that with some foresight into a future that does not involve racing motorcycle around a track, an ex-racer can find arenas were their massive experience and unique toolset still have tremendous value.

I still come back to my first interview in the MotoGP paddock, where I had a conversation with Hervé Poncharal about Colin Edwards. At the time, the Texas Tornado was seriously considering a switch from MotoGP to World Superbike, and a few weeks later, Ducati yanked the cord from its WSBK program. Talking about whether Edwards would stay at the Tech3 team, move one, or retire, Poncharal clued me into one of the major negotiation points Edwards was having with Yamaha: what his role would be post-MotoGP.

You may have heard of a little riding school affiliated with Colin: The Texas Tornado Boot Camp. Motorcycle camps needs bikes. Students crash those bikes. Motorcycles are expensive. At the time of his negotiations with Yamaha, the issue of how much Colin would get paid to ride was not an issue at all (this was at the height of the riders-paying-for-rides in GP movement), but instead the negotiations were revolving around how much support the tuning fork brand would give Edwards for his new business venture, and how much time Edwards would spend as a brand ambassador for Yamaha.

Just as the Texan’s rough & tumble style, which has endeared him to fans, would help sell seats at his motorcycle school, that same persona could help Yamaha sell bikes here in the US market. That is a skill and asset that has value well after a career of motorcycling is over.

Wait Weren’t We Talking About Valentino Rossi?

The connecting of the dots should be clear by now. While a significant component of Rossi’s options in MotoGP are still weighed against time sheet results and podiums, a growing concerning on The Doctor’s mind has to be about his future career, the career where he doesn’t race a motorcycle for a paycheck. There is no greater personality in MotoGP than Valentino Rossi, and the argument that the Italian is the media force behind the premier class is almost a moot point. That has value, value that a motorcycle company wants to cash-in on for the coming decades.

Dominating the first years of the four-stroke format on a Honda, as well as the 800cc era on a Yamaha, many will want to write-off this chapter of Rossi’s career on a Ducati. However, it is the Italian brand that has the most to gain from having Rossi sunset his career within its team’s ranks. Just to taste the proportions of that combined effort, we have to only remember back two years ago when the rumors of Rossi’s defection to Ducati Corse were being made. The Italian media went crazy, the Ducatisti of the world lost their collective minds, and us here at A&R saw our traffic permanently double for helping break the news.

Building the Rossi brand, both in the VR46 and institutional senses of the word, Valentino has something that few riders have to offer a company during the endgame of their career. Unlike Edwards, Rossi won’t be negotiating for bikes a motorcycle-themed camp, but instead he will be bargaining his likeness, personal endorsement, and persona to a motorcycle brand with a value that will be measured in millions of dollars. Ask yourself which of the three OEMs has the ability to capitalize on that opportunity the most. I will give you a hint, it is not the commoditized brands of Honda and Yamaha.

While the situation between Rossi and Ducati Corse looks bleak right now, be assured there will be a movement that starts from the very top of the organization to retain the nine-time World Champion for the rest of his career — at any cost. Just as our expert analysis by David Emmett predicts that Rossi’s only option would be to stay with Ducati Corse for another season, based if for no other reason on the fact that there is a lack of #1 position seats at Honda & Yamaha, the endgame analysis for The Doctor suggests that the Italian rider will align the end of his racing career with the company that best serves his post-racing career. For that answer, there is only one company that not only places enough stock in brand value, but also has the ability to make a sizable return on such an investment, and thus pay a substantial price for a Valentino Rossi that no longer races.

Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Faster1 says:

    Very logical , however, since his last decision to leave Yamaha at the height of his “all time championship” quest defied logic, one cannot assume that the decision “the alignment for the end” is a given.

  2. RedNick says:

    Jensen,
    Congratulations , you continue to set the standard for interesting, thought provoking stories about Motorcycle
    Racing that are relevant in todays world, such that it is.
    Keep it up and Asphaltandrubber will continue to grow.

    Nice Work,
    Nick

  3. motogp fan says:

    I’m sure Rossi’s thought about his post-racing career and I would imagine it includes rally racing or some other form of car racing, whether as leisure or for a full season. We must remember that unless Rossi has been extremely foolish with his money then money itself shouldn’t be of concern for him. If the printed stories about his yearly income are right then he’s earned more than 20 million euros a year for the past eight years or so. If he chose to walk away from the MotoGP circus he could certainly afford to do so. He doesn’t need Ducati’s money (or anyone else’s) after this season. I would imagine that given his love of the sport and the ambassadorial role he sees Giacomo Agostini playing with MV Agusta that he has a model to follow should he choose to do so.

  4. Rumblestrip says:

    FYI about Kenny selling his ranch and his motorcycle collection. He’s not doing it because he’s broke, far from it. He’s come to a point in time in his life where he wants to downsize. He’s going to spit his time between another house or condo that he owns and his place in Montana.

  5. Guzzigray says:

    Proof read lately??

  6. But then, where does Audi play into this? Will VR and herr Piech see eye to eye, becomes paisans?

    Of course, there may be a real upside to the Audi acquisition: Since Peugeot has pulled out of LeMans racing, maybe Audi could marshall Dr. Ulrich and the LeMans crew to turn the Desmo into a winner in MotoGP !

  7. Steve Lang says:

    Sounds like it could be The Greatest Of All Time comeback stories….next year. It looks bad now but just might be the best thing that could happen. We’ll see.

  8. Desmo says:

    Looks like all the untalented have #10000hour hype day hopping they know the secret now :)))
    Asap Rossi changes from this Ducati engineering catastrophe he will be back again no reason to worry. Just give him a right tool and proper hard working team behind. This Ducati engine layout will never be fast by the current race rules. Even the team doesn’t know what to do any more and if Rossi starts to change himself as there is not enough brains behind the bike he will crash hard unfortunately so it’s better to end this game here. Vale is smart enough not to force there you can’t force the thing. Why he should injure himself for the Ducati? The bike is crap, this is it. Clean paper please. All this 10 000 hours guys doesn’t get this thing straight. So this is how good this 10 000 hour theory was :))

  9. John says:

    That is a very interesting read as well, and I like how the arrows are pointing towards a return to Ducati. Though I am a very big Ducati and Nicky Hayden and Rossi fan, I think this year will work better than last year. Hayden’s showing in the last race is a glimpse of how this year will turn out. Rossi on the other hand does not want to be tied himself to a bike/manufacturer that cannot provide the type of machinery that he can excel on. However, I strongly doubt he wants to leave a manufacturer without winning a championship. He has won a title on every bike that he has ridden and I know for a fact that it will only be a matter of time until he wins one on the Ducati. Though he may not win this year, I think that there is a possibility for next year. Do keep in mind that new parts to mod the bike will arrive in the next few races. With the new mods coming in soon, I’m sure that it will only be a matter of time for both Nicky and Rossi to stand on podiums.

  10. Alex says:

    @Desmo While yes I do agree the style of the Desmosedici is quite unusual and everyone has had trouble riding it and even more trouble winning with it, you can’t argue with the fact that there was a guy who was consistent, won races and championships with it, and it’s Casey Stoner, I know this particular cow has been beat to a pulp since Vale has been in Ducati, but it’s true, yes I know, that Ducati Stoner won the championship with, was in a very different place in relation with every other bike, compared to the current one.

    But, you as you all know, he was still winning races and getting front row on Qualifying even on 2010, when another guy was starting to kick Vale’s ass, Jorge Lorenzo, I believe that’s why he left Yamaha, he knew he wasn’t gonna be #1 for much longer, and even in Yamaha, it still wasn’t gonna be Vale fighting for the Championships, it still would have been a Lorenzo- Stoner battle; he simply doesn’t have what it takes to take on people like Lorenzo, Stoner, Bradl or Marquez, they were raised to beat him…

    I think if he doesn’t get competitive with the Desmo this year, he’ll give up, clearly he’s in that mentality, and either retire and race cars, or go to SBK and utterly dominate with a Ducati that’s actually the best in the championship…

  11. David says:

    Guzzigray says:
    April 30, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Proof read lately??

    LOL…Evidently it doesn’t take 10,000 hours to be a journalist here.

    Good article though. Except for the fact that GOATS’s defiy logic. GOAT’s are driven by only one thing…..the checkered flag. Waning career or not, Ambassadorship’s and riding/driving schools are not the concern of a GOAT.

    How about the other 2 GOAT’s. Schumacher and Carmichael. Schumacher could not stay away and is making a valiant comeback. Ricky Carmichael saw the handwriting on the wall when James Stewart arrived. Ricky beat him fair and square and then walked away. Not to start a riding school or Ambassadorship, but to race and attempt to get the checkered flag rush of car racing.

    GOAT’s are a the rarest of breads and we were lucky enough to see three at the height of their careers.

    SHEEP start schools and Ambassadorship’s, not that that is a bad thing.

  12. David says:

    Oh crap…..I can’t proof read either……LOL

    Rarest of breads…..LOL

    Ooopps…….meant Breeds!

  13. Duc4life says:

    Not much has been said about Rossi continuing to race in another series, and I am not talking about WSBK. Hasn’t he said he would like to race rally cars after he “retires” from motorcycles? I am sure there are rally teams that would love to have him drive for them, and be willing to give him some time. And who know, the way things have been going in the States, he might end up in NASCAR!

  14. Kevin says:

    Just throwing it out there… the burgers at Ben’s place (Stackhouse Burgers) are very good and there are always plenty of customers there enjoying the food and atmosphere.

  15. sideswipe says:

    @Alex The rationale you present while plausible is a narrative that casts a shadow of decline further back than results suggest. The last time we saw Rossi on a machine he trusted and not carrying an injury was Qatar 2010. He had top the time sheets in pre season testing and won the first race ahead of his team mate as Casey fell through the black hole called the Ducati front end. Lorenzo most certainly was showing to be his equal on track and in bike setup but there was no evidence that Rossi was in decline at that moment. Injury was a pity as that season looked to be the defining battle within that team. The present surely shows a decline in both man and machine potential but was not a forgone conclusion by any means before he switched from Japanese blue to Italian red. For this very reason Lorenzo has expressed on a couple occasions of the desire of Rossi’s return to form as he felt he never got the fair shot to beat him on equal terms over a season. No doubt the lay of the land is very different. Lorenzo and Stoner at the height of their powers on the most developed machines. It would be a Muhammad Ali scale return to form to ever see him competitive against those two and the hot shots coming up through the ranks. It’s doubtful as unlike in boxing it requires more than personal best to be competitive.

    This article does have a persuasive point. Rossi doesn’t need money. He could probably run a factory equipped 1 man team out of his own wallet for a couple years and still have a comfy nest egg for the rest of his life. That seems quite unlikely. The present course seems to make sense for all parties for all the reasons the article proposes. If he could make solid progress that might be enough motivation to continue. Purely my own speculation but what seems to have really soaked their morale is the lack of progress rather than podium results. If he could exit GP with the satisfaction of good some results and the possible win or two then the story could end satisfactorily for all if not the fairy tale some once envisioned. What I would find intriguing would be if he could keep his Ducati ties and compete in WSBK on a Ducati after GP retirement. It might be an attractive carrot as another first. We have not yet had anyone take championships in both series.

  16. lashedup says:

    Great follow up with some very good points.

    I’d only add to both your thoughts and David’s original piece that you guys shouldn’t be surprised to see some Germans in the Ducati Corse stables fairly quickly. Volkswagen Group has a LOT of money and invested very heavily in Lamborghini when they bought it. The engineering and manufacturing resources alone are significant and will now be at Ducati’s disposal. Nothing ever happens fast enough, but given VW Board Member Dr. Piech’s experience and love of racing combined with his love of Ducati spells good things for Borgo Panigale.

    Keep up the great work…

  17. Dave says:

    Why rip on Spies for buying a hamburger stand? I doubt he broke the bank becoming a PARTNER in that venture. Sheesh.

    You, on the other hand, Jenson Beeler need to get you a jobby-job. You’re not making a fortune writing for this thing. And I doubt the NY Times is gonna come-a-knocking after this piece.

    Now that it clearly can be considered your life’s mistake, what, with passing on your lucrative sail boating career, maybe you could flip burgers at Ben’s hamburger stand after you’re done writing for asphaltandrubber. Maybe.

  18. hoyt says:

    Any person (athlete or not) that dedicates themselves to a profession and has had great success deserves more than this poorly written speculation, regardless if one is a Rossi fan or not. Is this a tabloid?

    “restaurants…are subject to fickle culinary trends.” – since when is a good burger joint subject to any trend?

    “…I don’t pretend to have the inside-scoop on any one rider’s financial situation, but..” – then why did you just write about at least 3 racers’ financial situations?

    “Most of those questions have centered around what will become of MotoGP, a story worthy of its own post, so I won’t digress here.” – Too late.

  19. mxs says:

    Wow people. It’s just a freaking motorcycle blog and good one at that why all the attacks? Or was just that a sarcasm in hiding?

  20. You guys realize the logical fallacy in stating that because his burger place is doing well, the investment wasn’t risky, right?

  21. Dave says:

    Jenson, I didn’t realize that, nor do I honestly believe you intended it that way. Which is fine. You can rip riders or former riders and their financial management all you like just like readers can call you on it.

    Just like you can create inuendo King Kenny is going broke…well, he’s selling his bikes and home isn’t he?

    You don’t bring up the massive tax problem Rossi had with the Italian government and what role, if any (as long as wild speculation is the call of the day), had with him signing with Ducati to the delight of the Italian people and his massive tax dept suddenly going bye bye.

    Anyway, thanks for clearing up the Spies thing. Maybe there’s a future for you flipping burgers again. Spies seems like the forgiving type.

  22. hoyt says:

    I didn’t say anything about the burger joint doing well or not. If a burger joint is good, then it is not subject to any trends as burgers are part of the culture, especially in TX.

    you realize that this burger joint is probably a very small % of his wealth, so there is no relative risk to make you, as you put it dramatically, “cringe”, right? And, you realize that Ben’s mother has been a very smart business manager throughout his career, right?

    You realize there has only been 2 races this year but you choose to defend the comments about Ben Spies’ burger joint while trying to script an end to a career such as Rossi’s, ….Right?

  23. Dave says:

    I enjoy this blog and Jenson’s article was some good entertainment.

    But come on, if riders fritter away their money why does that matter? I didn’t realize Spies burger stand was doing good or bad. Risky? How’s this for risky-racing a motoGP bike!

    None of them want to go broke and it’d be a terrible story if any of them did. That said, these guys are wired differently. Every race is a life-risking proposition. Can’t a guy who risks his life all year do whatever he wants with his money if he likes (be it good or bad)?

    Also, I doubt former riders hang around the paddock because there’s money in it. This is their love, money or no money.

  24. Flipping burgers? I have no problems with a discussion about the topic, but show some class and keep the comments above the belt. It’d be nice too if you could spell my name right.

  25. Dave says:

    Ok I’m sorry. I’ll spell your name correctly. ;)

    But Jenson, criticize the rider, his bike, his team…but call Spies out as some clueless 20-something schmuck with not-so-subtle inuendo, implying he will surely go broke because he is stupid with his money? That is below the belt if you ask me. Litmus test-you wouldn’t say what you wrote about him if you had the chance to speak to him.

    You wouldn’t say what you implied about Kenny Roberts either, if you met him.

    And both would only scoff at what you imply about them and not take the time to dignify it with rebuttal. To me, that’s below the belt.

    Btw, open up your bank book and let me judge your financial planning. See? Not cool.

  26. Westward says:

    @ Desmo

    Methinks you do not understand the 10,000 hours concept. Either re-read the article or get the Gladwell book Outliers, your criticism lacks continuity to the conversation…

    @ Alex

    Stoner is undoubtably the master of the Motogp Desmo thus far. But Lorenzo has never bested Rossi on equal machinery. Least we forget, Rossi won the opening race at Qatar. Injury to Rossi’s shoulder occurred before the second race at Jerez, , even then Rossi made the rostrum in third to the healthy Lorenzo and Pedrosa. The third circuit at LeMans, Rossi finished second to Lorenzo.

    The only race they were equal in 2010 was Qatar, and Rossi beat Lorenzo handedly by over a minute. The best thing to happen for Lorenzo was the shoulder injury to Rossi. Lorenzo would not have won Jerez or LeMans if Rossi was 100%. Motegi and Sepang proved that later in the year. The leg injury at Mugello was only the icing on the cake, Lorenzo’s worst nightmare, was Stoner’s move to Honda.

    The only real decline in Rossi’s career is the Ducati, it’s the machine not the man… Rossi on a Yamaha in 2011, would have made Stoner look more human than alien… If Ducati can’t turn things around, the worst night for everyone is Rossi on a Yamaha. Lorenzo has to say he would welcome Rossi back, anything else would sound like fear…

    @ sideswipe

    I agree with most and disagree with some of your points… Rossi has been in the top ten of paid athletes in the world for over a decade now. He has probably made more money than all of the collective pilots in Motogp and WSBK combined over that time period.

    Rossi could if wanted, single handedly form and solo effort on any bike he wants save maybe a Honda, and he would not even have to spend a dime of his own money. If there is one person that can raise the capital that other teams struggle with, it’s Rossi. Yamaha’s plight to find sponsor and keep them is a direct result of Rossi’s decision.
    Yamaha will take him back, financially it’s a great move for them or anyone for that matter.

    Also, now that MotoGP and WSBK are under the same ownership, Rossi in either series is a win win situation…

  27. Westward says:

    @ Dave

    You are either related to Spies, have a man crush, or Spies incognito…

    I am assuming you are not a girl, or a vegetarian.

  28. Great thought and discussion provoking article as always Jensen!

    I suspect as others have stated that the GOAT doesn’t need ……and isn’t driven by the prospect of more money….he wants to compete and win.

    So whatever he does when he stops riding MotoGP, he will do in a competitive fashion, whether it be, running a hamburger joint across the road from Ben’s, rallying ,etc.

    I don’t see him running a motorcycle training school or being a full time brand ambassador, rider liaison rep, etc.

    GOATS also need recognition so it will need to be a high profile public endeavor and of course there is bound to be his book.

    Jensen keep up the great journalism!

    FastBikeGear.com

  29. PD says:

    Just wanted to add that, in conjunction with the 10,000 hours of practice, as well as talent, Gladwell also makes a point of the importance of opportunity, as well as others. “Opportunity,” as I see it, would involve the parents, their interests, their circle of friends and relatives, financial background, educational opportunities, your personality, your affability, willingness of others to mentor you, etc., etc., just a plethora of variables. As well, Gladwell makes the point about seemingly arbitrary social rules and limitations, such as age cut-offs in developmental leagues, that have profound bearing on one’s potential level of ultimate success. For example, we know that development at 12 or 13 year of age is significantly more rapid than, say, at 22 or 23. If a given league included kids aged 12 to 13, and the rosters were finalized as of, say, March 31, 13 year-olds with a birthday of April 1 would have the greatest advantage in terms of development. If this developmental advantage led to observable performance advantages, more resources would be availed to these kids, such as better mentoring and coaching, better gear, greater sponsorship, etc., which would only potentially enhance the advantages (just as with top riders getting the best of bike, team, funding, etc.). A 12 year-old with a March 31 birthday, even if had greater inherent potential, would have great difficulty in competing as a result of the almost 2 year lag in development (relative to a 13 year-old with an April 1 birthday), and so would never receive the added resources of an elite performer in the league, without which he may potentially never reach his full and true potential. All because of some arbitrary age restrictions.

    While it’s almost universally accepted that Stoner is the most talented MotoGP rider at the moment, it should be evident to any reasonable person that it would be absurd to think that, given equal opportunities, he would still be the best track roadracer in a world of 7 billion potential competitors. If, as a newborn, Stoner was taken from his parents and given to a set of just as loving parents in, say, a rural village in the Congo, it would be next to impossible, or should be to a reasonable person, to hold any expectation whatsoever that Stoner would still wind up being where he is at the top of MotoGP. As a less extreme scenario, had his parents even simply been passionate stamp collectors rather than motorcycle racing enthusiasts, Stoner would never be where he is today.

  30. I remember an interview with Colin Edwards a few years back when he rode the cube. He said something to the effect of “Rossi has never had to ring a bike’s neck just to get sixth place”. Well now he has.

  31. hoyt says:

    Less than 3 years ago Rossi passed Lorenzo for the win at Catalunya at a spot where no one imagined possible.
    Less than 2 years ago Rossi broke his leg and then just 50 days later finished 3rd at Laguna Seca, one of the most technical tracks on the schedule.

    2011 – moves to Ducati
    2012 – completes the firsttwo races of the season and we get this continued tabloid gossip.

    What a load of bs that exemplifies a give-up attitude.

  32. Dave says:

    @ westward,

    No man crush. I just think Spies should be judged for how he manages the chatter from his Yamaha and not the chatter about his personal investments. The “he likes him some hamburgers” is really sour. Don’t you think?

    You don’t need to make your case for what the next phase of Rossi’s career could be by inventing stories that a current rider (Spies) or former rider (Kenny Roberts) are imbaciles who are going broke.

    But here’s the irony, if Beeler is going to give financial smackdowns about riders, in the pantheon of financial planning gaffes it was Rossi who would have topped that list to the tune of almost $50,000,000 for tax evasion. A mind boggling amount of money. Of course he emerged unscathed, god only knows how, but 50 million dollars almost down the drain doesn’t raise eyebrows with Beeler but Spies’ hamburger stand makes Ben the biggest idiot ever. haha. Come on.

  33. Westward says:

    @ Dave

    Do you own a burger joint ? Or are you Spies’s partner in said venture ? You should re-read those three paragraphs and put everything into context.

    The fact that you are so focused on the line “He likes him some hamburgers” as being a sour, sounds a obsessive.

    If you read that section again with a more lucid mind, I think you will find that JB only brings light to a subject that he claims he does not know too much about, and only speculates based on his own personal knowledge of a given aspect of the matter.

    There are all kinds of caveats in there. In case you are not aware, but I myself am a Spies advocate…

  34. David says:

    HA….all you burger joint naysayers will be eating your words when, next year, BS walks right out of MotoGp and right into burger flipping without nary missing a payday.

    BS will show all you haters his masterful future planning ability.

  35. Dave says:

    @David

    Your prediction may come true sooner than you think if BS doesn’t solve the problems with chatter!

    @Westward
    Haha. Ok, I’m not fixating on the burgers, I’m fixating on the author’s searing indictment of Ben Spies’ financial management (couched in the notion Spies is a moron) and I thought it was a cheap shot for him to wildly speculate Kenny Roberts is losing his home and worldly possessions due to some financial mismanagement–all in the name of making a point about what Rossi does after racing.–which is a great topic.

    For me the article took a bizarro, and unnecessary, tone of ‘Rossi better think about life after racing or wind up broke like those boneheads Spies and Kenny Roberts.’ And granted, that odd turn was but a minor bump in an otherwise good article. But it irked me. Sorry.

    I’m a huge Rossi fan. It’s why I read the article to begin with. Rossi only a few years ago was being accused of tax evasion on $50,000,000. That wasn’t moto news, that was main stream media news with salacious shock value. People who don’t even follow this sport were like “who’s this Rossi guy? Seems he’s in big trouble.” Beeler’s writing about financial management and that slips his mind?

    I’m thinking ‘dude do your homework…and why are you throwing Spies/Roberts under your bus?’ Otherwise, I enjoyed Beeler’s story actually. Also, I thought it was a funny comeback-Beeler makes fun of Spies buying a hamburger joint and I make fun of him working there. Hey come on, you could see that comeback coming from a mile away.

  36. Dave says:

    @ westward

    No voy a Ben Spies incógnito soy Jorge Lorenzo

    nadie puede burlarse de mi amigo Ben Spies! Y nadie puede decir nada sobre el ex de Yamaha en King Kenny!

  37. Jake says:

    You guys are looking at it all wrong. As the old adage goes, “there’s no such thing as bad press.” Thanks to this article, I now know that Ben Spies co-owns a burger joint in Dallas. If I’m ever in Dallas, I might have to seek it out. Although, from the review (which Jensen had nothing to do with), it doesn’t look like I’m missing much except overpriced and average burgers.

    Similarly, now I know there’s a very nice ranch for sale in Hickman, CA. I don’t think I have need for yet another ranch as I can’t keep track of the ones I’ve got, but still, good to know.

    On the other hand, Jensen, you might benefit from this article:
    http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/apr2007/sb20070416_296932.htm
    It’s a few years old but it argues that restaurants don’t have a higher failure rate than any other new enterprise.

  38. Westward says:

    From personal experience, I reside within walking distance of an area know as restaurant row. There have been a couple restaurants that have disappeared, only to have new restaurants appear in their places a few times over in the last 7 years.

    I also know a few people that have owned restaurants and are now working in other fields with at least one person working as a chef in another establishment.

    In my assessment, most restaurants fail mainly due to management or pour marketing. Franchise fast food chains skew the statistics, and should be in a separate category…

    @ Dave

    50 million, really, that all you got ?

    Rossi was hit with that because he lived in England for a while, when he returned and claimed residence back in italy, that is when they hit him with tax evasion. The charge is specious to begin with…

    Besides, again, Rossi on average nets 40 million a year in salary plus endorsements and has been for the last ten to twelve years.

    I don’t think Spies and Stoner combined will ever see 50 million in the whole of their careers. They lack marketing personality.

  39. Westward says:

    BTW

    @ Jake

    That article you linked to only supports JB’s point. a Survey in Ohio about restaurants is a very different thing than say in New York, California, Florida,(Chicago)Illinois, or (Atlanta) Georgia… The failure rates are higher than the 60% the Ohio research touts…

  40. Dave says:

    Why are we debating restaurants here? I blame Beeler for this.

    @westward,

    First, you are totally missing my point so I’ll write in plain English–The article raises a very interesting question–What happens when Rossi leaves the sport? My gripe was that the author can tackle that subject matter without slamming other riders. No need to fantasize about other riders going broke because the subject matter of Rossi after motoGP can stand on its own interesting merits.

    Now to address your madness westward. I don’t know boo about restraurant ventures. Nor do I care. But you would have to be nuttier than squirrel poop if you think Italy squeezing you for 50 million dollars is something to sneeze at (especially if you’re Italian!). Even Bill Gates would do a spit take of his coffee and choke on his donut if he heard the government wanted 50 million from him.

    On that note, I’m hoping Rossi can do better than 10th at Estoril, that Spies can be in the top 5, that hamburger stands make money, and that Rossi never gets auditted again! I also hope to see Kenny Roberts at Laguna Seca this year and I hope he has a happy ranch to return to when the races are over.

  41. christo says:

    Great article, moronic comments.

  42. dnlfco says:

    Just give VR46 Stoner’s Honda, sit back, relax and enjoy watching the king take back his crown.