Well as much as I love Nicky I ride Yamaha got a '99 r6 that I have made custom parts for and race and it keeps up with the new 600's still. My '04 R1 is f'n insane with AIM datalogging system and GMD suspension dynamics on both with michelin Pilots and ohlins, brembos...etc. these are the best bikes on the track in my opinion.
LOL the best bike can get you only so far. I wrecked the r6 3 weekends ago dislocating my shoulder and doing $800s worth of damage at a team practice and running race pace into turn 1 at Jennings GP at 150mph and shifted into a false neutral and still trying to trail brake into the turn... lets say there wasnt enough run off for 150mph and I had to ditch it before the trees!!! luckily I got it slowed down to about 90mph when I ditched it into the 12ft birm at the end of the run off.
Val is one of the best riders I have ever seen grace a motorcycle and nicky since he was a lil tot was raised to race motorcycles from flat tracking to moto gp he is still the world champ and honda needs to back him as such. Pedrosa may seem like the next evolution for honda but nicky has the determination, skill and heart to win! I wouldnt count nicky out this season and I believe after this slow start this season you will see him move back up in the rankings. Just my 2 cents ;-)
"once you drag a Knee nothing else matters"