Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess says he was taken by surprise by the Italian’s decision to drop him at the end of the 2013 MotoGP season.
Burgess has been alongside Rossi throughout the seven-time champion’s illustrious MotoGP career, following him from Honda via Yamaha to Ducati, and then back to Yamaha.
Rossi, who has only won once race since returning to Yamaha this season, informed Burgess that he wanted to make a change prior to the start of the Valencia Grand Prix weekend on Thursday.
“Clearly it blindsided me, I was not expecting it whatsoever,” said Burgess. “I knew yesterday afternoon when Valentino invited me to his trailer that we weren’t going for a Christmas bonus…”
Burgess insisted that he understood and accepted Rossi’s decision.
“I’m obviously disappointed, but I can understand some sort of change was necessary,” he said. “History will determine the outcome of this adjustment we are making, which is aimed at trying to improve the overall package for Valentino. If this is what does it, then it has been a success.
“We have been chasing Jorge [Lorenzo] all year, we haven’t nailed anything decent in four years. These are long periods in racing, and it becomes more and more difficult. I’d read many sports biographies and quite often cases the top sportsman at the end of his career makes a change of caddy or a change of coach.”
Burgess did not rule out continuing in MotoGP in another role, but admitted he had been considering his long-term future anyway.
“Obviously getting closer to the end of my career I was making an exit policy based on VR’s competitiveness and time in MotoGP, so I was moving the goalposts a bit in terms of commitment,” he said