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Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Steve Parrish's MotoGP review

Steve Parrish
By Steve Parrish
BBC motorbikes commentator

Valentino Rossi
"Sorry for the delay" says Rossi's shirt as he celebrates his eight world title
So that's the 2008 season over - I'd give it 7/10.

We've not been blessed with some of the exciting racing we've had in the past, and no-one knows quite what that's down to.

We've not had the gloves-off fight for the title involving lots of riders that I thought we would - I thought we'd have two or three riders fighting for the title at the end.

It was partly a case of Valentino Rossi winning the title and partly a case of his rivals blowing it, but it was his consistency that put them under so much pressure and made them make mistakes.

I thought Dani Pedrosa would be a big threat, but he crashed and injured himself, and unfortunately Casey Stoner didn't score any points in France because of mechanical problems and then had two hugely costly crashes in consecutive races, but Yamaha did a great job.

They went away with tails between legs after last year but came back fighting in 2008.

Stoner lost his title with what happened at and after the US Grand Prix in Laguna Seca, where Rossi really got under his skin and upset him.

After that, he didn't want to play ball and didn't want to fight him on the track.

If Dani Pedrosa's going to win the world title, it's got to be next year

He was hell-bent on getting away from Rossi and as a result crashed at the next two races, in the Czech Republic and San Marino.

I wanted to see more of what we saw at Laguna - if Stoner had had a different attitude, we could have seen more of it at the next two races.

Laguna was a pleasure to watch - you didn't need to see anyone else, terrific battle and we'd been waiting to see if for a long time. I truly thought we'd see more of that, but we were robbed.

For me, the low point of the season was the next race in the Czech Republic, when just as Rossi was closing Stoner down and we were getting ready for another battle, Stoner fell off, and then he did it again in the next race.

I believe Pedrosa's still got what it takes to win, but it depends if the rules change or not.

He has an undeniable advantage in that he's smaller - that makes him lighter, and he's always first into turn one if he starts on the front row.

Honda have pinned their hopes on him, this year's tiny bike was clearly built around him and it hasn't paid off.

I think they're going to start weighing bikes like they do in the 125s, so I think if he's going to win it, it's got to be next year.

He blew it all in Germany when he went off a second a lap faster than anyone else but came off.

Next season his team-mate of this year, Nicky Hayden, will be alongside Stoner at Ducati.

Casey Stoner struggles to get his bike upright at Laguna Seca
Stoner's championship bid never recovered from the Laguna Seca race
Of all the people in the paddock, only Casey has mastered that red bike so far but I think Nicky has the style which will suit it.

Somebody's got to crack it, Casey can't be unique - Nicky is determined and likes a fight so I think he's got one.

Next season, we'll only have the one tyre supplier, but I'm not sure that's the answer to our prayers.

For example, you'll have Randy de Puniet and Pedrosa both on Hondas, both on the same tyres, but there's about 20kg difference between them, so I'm sure Dani would want something different.

I think we'll get even more disparity because of people not being able to change tyres.

There are some people who will be interesting to watch next season - Andrea Dovizioso, who came just behind Jorge Lorenzo on a lesser bike, is replacing Hayden at Honda.

He's had a great apprenticeship this year, I'd give him 9.5 out of 10 for this year, so surely he must a stronger force next year.

Sete Gibernau's coming back too - in his prime he was one of the few who could take the race to Rossi, but he's been away for a couple of years now and is probably past it now at the age of 35.

And we'd like to think James Toseland will be in that group of ones to watch.

This was his apprenticeship year, it didn't quite work out as he would have hoped, but it was as I expected.

I think that, just like Lorenzo, he started off too well and set the bar too high.

Having done that he failed to get over it a few times, bits and pieces went wrong, and tried too hard at times, particularly at Donington.

As the season went on, it seemed to get tougher and tougher, and once the established riders found their feet he struggled.

He ended up 11th this year, and will have to be hoping for fifth or sixth next season.

Overall it wasn't a year to remember as it wasn't close enough - but we saw a lot going on which sets it up well for next year.

Steve Parrish was talking to Julian Shea

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see also
Stoner romps to season finale win
26 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Superb Stoner wins in Australia
05 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Stoner fixes wrist surgery date
16 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
Rossi roars to sixth world title
28 Sep 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP on the BBC
02 Aug 08 |  Motorbikes
MotoGP world championship
26 Oct 08 |  Motorbikes
BBC pundits on MotoGP 2008
06 Mar 08 |  Motorbikes
Contact the motorbikes TV team
06 Mar 07 |  Motorbikes

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