My friend really wants to get into motorcycling. He's been picking my brain over the last few weeks (I'm glad to help), and I've been encouraging him to (a) take his MSF BRC, and (b) get a 650cc twin or smaller standard as his first bike (in that order). He doesn't seem to be taking me seriously on either account, even after I pointed out that our BRC courses in this area fill up FAST: All of 2012 is almost booked already.
Perhaps I should point out that "lowering his standards" will allow him to get into motorcycling all the sooner.
You've given your friend good advice. I told my students to start out on a smaller midsize bike and then move up in 6 months or several thousand miles of riding if they felt comfortable with it. I actually encouraged a 450 class bike. It is a case of being able to master a smaller easier to ride machine v/s having the bigger and harder to control machine being the master over you.