Yamaha made ‘tentative’ bid to break-up Valentino Rossi’s crew

Published: 16 December 2010

Yamaha made a tentative attempt to break up Valentino Rossi’s long serving and loyal crew earlier this year when the Italian star was finalising his big money switch to Ducati.

Alex ‘Axel’ Briggs, a member of Rossi’s crew throughout his entire MotoGP career, was briefly approached by Yamaha management in early July about the prospect of being a crew chief for Ben Spies in 2011.

Spies will move to Yamaha’s factory team in 2011 alongside Jorge Lorenzo following Rossi’s move to Ducati.

But Briggs agreed to switch to the Bologna factory with Rossi, with the 31-year-old taking his entire crew to Ducati, just as he did back in 2004 when he quit Honda to sign for Yamaha.

That includes legendary crew chief Jerry Burgess, who has been the technical mastermind behind Rossi's seven MotoGP world titles.

Briggs told MCN: “There was a very tentative approach about the possibility of being Ben’s crew chief next year. By that time though I’d already pretty much made my mind up to go with Valentino.”

Spies will continue to work with long-serving crew chief Tom Houseworth next year.