In one of the most candid interviews he’s ever given in his entire career, master tuner Jeremy Burgess, speaking to French publication GP Inside, has openly expressed his views on Valentino Rossi’s brilliant past, current situation and future prospects in MotoGP. While Rossi won seven premier class MotoGP world championships with Burgess, between 2001 to 2009, the last three years – two with Ducati, one with Yamaha – have not gone so well. And recently, The Doctor announced that Burgess would no longer be a part of Yamaha MotoGP team in 2014, with his position going to Silvano Galbusera.
In the interview he’s given to GP Inside, Burgess doesn’t seem to be upset or annoyed with Rossi’s decision, though there is a slight tinge of sadness in his words. Here are some excerpts from what Burgess had to say:
On why he thinks Rossi has decided to replace him with a different crew chief, and whether he thinks it will work
Elite athletes, when they approach the end of their careers, are often tempted to change the coach. In the case of Valentino, he wants, he believes, or he needs a big change to try to regain the status that was his. He knows that he takes a big risk, but he needs to try something. I can only say that I hope that's probably the right decision.
On where Rossi’s career seems to be going
I have immense respect for Valentino, for what he has done in the past, but we also know that he is now much closer to the end of his career. Like all athletes who reach this stage of their lives, he probably does not understand why his opponents are faster than him. He might say he can do whatever he could 10 years ago, but somewhere in the ‘processor Valentino,’ the information no longer comes as quickly as it used to.
On whether he resents Rossi’s decision to part ways with him
Absolutely not! If it works, it will be perfect. This will mean that this is what he needed and I will be very happy. If it does not work, it will still be part of the things he needed to try. Whatever happens to me, it is a decision that is positive because it will provide answers.
Burgess thinks Rossi is now too old to be able to win races consistently against the likes of Lorenzo and Marc Marquez
On whether Rossi can still win races and maybe even the MotoGP world championship
I was delighted when he won at Assen this year, but the main thing is to get to be constant over the 18 rounds of the championship. Late in his career, perhaps this is where he may suffer most. He will be able to combine all the elements [needed to win] during the occasional one weekend of racing, but not necessarily over an entire season. The pressure he must now suffer from riders like Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marc is colossal. They form a group of four riders who are above the level of others, but Valentino is not close enough to the 3rd place in each race. They [Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez] have that little something extra…
On his wish to see Rossi leave MotoGP unhurt
In a way, yes, I am worried about the safety of my rider. I have seen horrible motorcycle accidents and if Rossi suffers serious injury, people will immediately ask why he did not stop sooner. It will be a relief if he can go back to his parents, Graziano and Stefania, in perfect health. It disturbs me when I feel Valentino is trying to do something that he may no longer be capable of doing. Himself, he is convinced he can still be world champion, and I admire that belief. But I'm not a man of faith, I want to see proof. When someone tells me "I can do it," I say, "show me what you can do." And Valentino has not been able to demonstrate this. We see that he tries, he does everything he can, but it takes him outside his comfort zone, where Marc and Lorenzo are still in theirs. Valentino had all his earlier success staying in his comfort zone, but this is no longer the case. Valentino gives everything he can, he has had a very long career, but now he is 34 years old.
On his parting advice to Rossi
I think it is time to thank all those around you and to withdraw, leaving the memory of the great champion you are. Whatever you do – football, baseball, cricket basketball, baseball – each athlete must, at some point in his career, take this kind of decision. I do not know if Valentino must make this decision now, but he should not have any fear of this decision because we know, as soon as you start down a path, one day, it will stop.
Source: GP Inside