Originally Posted by Kropotkin
You have to separate the 990 from the 800. The bikes were totally different beasts. The 990 had horsepower to spare, and as a consequence, you could use that to turn. The 800 - especially in '07 and '08 - did not have the horsepower, and were much more dependent on the front than on the rear. This trend was exacerbated by the fact that the '07 tires were built with the data from the 990s, and so had masses of grip with the 800s. The 990s had more power than tire, the 800s had more tire than power.
Capirossi could ride around the weak front end of the 990 using the outrageous amount of horsepower the bike had. With the advent of the 880s, that possibility was gone. Bayliss won on the 990, not the 800.
To see the difference in competitiveness between the bikes, compare Capirossi's results from '06 and '07:
06 - 3 wins, 8 podiums, 5 fastest race laps, 2 poles, led for 88 laps, 229 points. This, remember, in a year when he had a massive crash in Barcelona, and rode the next three races pretty banged up.
07 - 1 win, 4 podiums, no fastest race laps, no poles, led for 12 laps, 166 points. His win came in mixed conditions in a flag-to-flag race, and had more to do with wily racecraft than outright speed.