Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess says he will be haunted to his grave by the Italian’s failure to be competitive enough to challenge for victories during a disastrous two-year stint with Ducati.
Rossi will be back at Yamaha in 2013 to renew his rivalry with reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo after he struggled to master the finicky Desmosedici.
The Italian managed just three podium finishes in 35 races for Ducati and never seriously challenged for a victory throughout his time on board a Desmosedici.
In an exclusive interview with MCN Sport, Aussie Burgess said the fact that he and Rossi didn’t come close to achieving the goals set when they joined Ducati at the end of 2010 will haunt him forever.
Burgess told MCN Sport: “I felt that we could do better than we have, and that is something I’ll take with me to the grave because we didn’t achieve in the two years the goals that we‘d for set ourselves.
We didn’t win a race, we haven’t won a championship and we haven’t been able to secure Valentino’s services at Ducati for the future. They were the primary goals. We had some podiums but three in 35 is certainly not what we would have hoped for and it has been disappointing.”
Burgess said the fact that Rossi didn’t see his future at Ducati for the final stint of his career was the lowest point of his tenure with the Bologna factory.
He added: “I think with Audi coming on board now there might be a different sort of focus on what is to be achieved and what they want to achieve.
The most disappointing is that Valentino couldn’t see it through to go another year with it because I do understand his point in wanting to be competitive, but I still feel that we haven’t achieved what we wanted to achieve and from that point of view I think the pressure would be really on Ducati to deliver in a third year.”
With Rossi accepting a two-year contract to return to Yamaha for 2013 and 2014, Burgess said it wasn’t a humbling experience returning to the factory where he helped the 33-year win four world titles and 46 races in a seven-year spell.
Rossi is taking his entire garage crew back to Yamaha with him and Burgess added: "Going back to Yamaha, well embarrassing is not the word but Valentino has been thrown a lifeline and we are just sort of hanging onto the rope as well.
Ben (Spies) is leaving and in my case his crew chief was leaving, but there were other guys at Yamaha who were good mechanics who have been pushed out. These are guys that have mortgages to pay and have families to look after and now they are out there looking for a job.
That doesn’t make me feel that great and MotoGP as it is now, there just aren’t that number of jobs. That doesn’t sit very well with me.”
To subscribe to MCN Sport magazine, go to www.greatmagazines.co.uk/MCNSport