For a while now, I’ve been browsing CraigsList looking for old CB750s? Why? For the very reason above, except that particular bike is a CB550, not a 750. What I’ve wanted to for the longest time is to pick up a 750, pull everything off of it except for the motor, trans, and swing arm. From there on, I would fit modern suspension and brakes to it. After that the fun would begin. I’d start to hand form the fairings and gas tank myself. Using metal forming tools and brute strength to get that look of those mid to late 70s MotoGP machines that were ridden amongst the likes of Giacomo Agostini, Kenny Roberts, and Barry Sheene.
Now can I ride? No. Would I like to? Eventually at some point. But would I bask in the glory that I hand made just about every piece I felt I could on this bike? Yes, of course. I would treat it as a piece of art. I would relive the glory days of Kenny Roberts’ dirt track riding style on the circuits of his 1978, 1979, and 1980 seasons. Or Giacomo’s glory years of 1967 through 1972. Or even when playboys ruled the world in the mid 70s with Barry Sheene. All of those bikes from that era were magnificent. Sure today’s MotoGP rides are batshit crazy with technology and power. But with the 70s MotoGP machines you had carbs and testicles.
It is such a shame that this happened, he has done so much for Ducati as a business and for the race team. Nicky is such a class act about the whole ordeal as well. He is quoted as saying “I’m not coming back to Ducati in MotoGP. They’ve chosen to go a different way.” He was very stoic over the years, giving 100% to an under performing bike. Besides only three podiums for Ducati since 2009, Nicky hasn’t been able to perform to his full potential. If Casey Stoner has said the bike is scrap and had to change his riding style, means the bike was bad. If Valentino Rossi, the greatest rider of all time, can’t get the bike to perform? Yeah, bad bike. The biggest thing is everyone understands Ducati needs to sell bikes with different technology to stand out from the crowd. They don’t feel the need to differentiate between their race bikes and street bikes.
Nicky did a lot of work for the business side of Ducati in the States as well. He was a hard working loved all around PR machine with the brand. While he was with the team, the sales of Ducatis in the States overtook the sales in Italy. He is good for the brand, he’s never not given his all for the team. He’s just so genuine and has love for what he does, he’s a valued resource for any team, but the sad reality is. He’s not willing to let himself go to a CRT ride or a satellite ride. He knows what he’s worth but he’s humble about it, even with his pride. What’s there for Nicky to do? The only real option is World Superbike, drop him on one of those machines, he’s going to shine even brighter than he did in MotoGP. But that’s for Nicky to decide, he may just retire, never have been able to show his full and real potential on an equal bike with the exception for that magical championship winning year in 2006.