yep, (agree with HighSide), there's nothing "old" about Rossi, he's still arguably the best rider out there on most days, but all the Japanese have been totally trumped by Ducati's *awesome* engine, AND a chassis/tire combo that is at least "on par" with the competition. It sucks that some races have been so predictable this season.
Kudos to Bridgestone for coming a long way in a short time, beating Michelin who dominated for YEARS, and it seemed the only time Dunlop had "the" tire was when Wayne Rainey was riding like a demon almost 15 years ago. Maybe Nicky could make Dunlop's work for him the way Rainey did back then
.. and I remembered watching Mamola burn up Pirelli's for the he** of it on his Cagiva back in the old days too. So it's no mean feat to beat Michelin at the tire game.
Tough to say whether changing tires is a sure cure, because all the track data these guys have is from Michelin, and it takes time to adapt the chassis, suspension, etc. to different tires... sometimes it screws things up for half the season more than may help in the second half, especially at the level of perfection these guys are operating at every piece of the bike is so totally integrated and designed around the subtleties of hundreds of other smaller components, and often heavily biased to certain riding styles... but yeah, that single manufacturer tire idea is a real lame thing to do in MotoGP...
I wouldn't take anything away from Stoner and many other wicked riders out there, as they definitely have been able to set up the bike, but that motor really *works* for most circuits, and I'd rate the Honda engine #2, Yam, and more recently Kawi and Suzook are all quite capable, but a step down the ladder in overall performance, and these differences always effect lap times more during a race than in qualifying laptimes. The Jap' manufactureres are (in a rare situation) of fighting a clear motor disadvantage to the Ducky's.