Magnanimous to the very end, legendary crewchief Jeremy Burgess didn't throw Valentino Rossi or anyone else involved in his firing under the bus today when speaking with the press at Valencia.
Burgess admitted that what had happened had "blindsided" him, but that he isn't holding a grudge.
"I was more or less hoping, expecting, that two years here with Valentino would have been pretty much it," Burgess said after the official press conference. "I've been aware, over the last two years, that this could stop, for any reason, any one of a number of reasons. If Valentino perhaps hadn't been lucky enough to come back to Yamaha, it could have ended at the end of the Ducati period."
"... as I go to put it into perspective based around what Valentino is looking for going forward, he is looking for somebody to perhaps establish themself with him next year, and then carry on for the next two or three years. So to make the change now, is not altogether crazy," Burgess said.
The manner in which Burgess was let go from the Yamaha MotoGP team was borderline shocking, especially given his history in the sport. Yet Burgess told the press today in the Yamaha hospitality complex that his opinion of Valentino Rossi hasn't changed. "There's been too many good times," the Australian said, "and Valentino has always been up front, honest, and speaks what he wants and how he wants things. So when he said to me yesterday that this is what he wanted, for me, it's more important that the future of Valentino, going forward, is the priority, and always has been my priority, too. To do anything to prevent that taking place, is not really being helpful."
But couldn't it have been handled in a slightly more dignified way, especially give the history and accomplishments of Burgess and Rossi?
"I think I'm dignified," answered Burgess. "I think he's dignified. I think you have to say what you ... and be open, as we always have been with each other. I don't see that it was going to be easy for him. I think he would have given it a lot of thought. He will have a lot of reasons why he thinks it's going to be better. Again, enormous pressure, because now something has to happen, and this is what we're hoping for. This change is as simple as a mechanical change. It's a movement of people, but with the intention of moving the project further along, and ... It's the right decision always, because it's the decision we need to make to change something to go forward in time, in performance. It can only be judged at some time in the future."
The more he spoke the more Burgess cemented himself as a man that few can realistically hope to emulate in terms of his humbleness and self-control. He actually defended Rossi's decision to fire him.
"I think everybody has to make decisions that they think, in their life, are going to be better for them. We're not here to appease everybody. He's here to do a job. He thinks that he can, and I believe also that perhaps this is a good move. If it re-ignites a spark that he needs to find himself, then the job has been a success," Burgess said