Burgess determined to win back title

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Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess says he is determined to win back the MotoGP world championship crown in 2007, admitting last year’s shock defeat to Nicky Hayden ‘ground my guts’.

Losing in MotoGP is even more alien for Burgess than it is for Rossi, with the Australian winning a massive 10 world titles since 1994 – five with Rossi and five with Aussie legend Mick Doohan.

Like Rossi commented in pre-season testing, Burgess said his motivation is stronger than ever to try and set the record straight in '07. Machine problems and rotten luck saw Rossi beaten for the first time in the premier class last year since 2001.

Rossi has made a brilliant start to his quest to win back the premier class crown, with second in Qatar and a dominant victory in Jerez seeing him lead the championship going into the Easter break.

Burgess said: “To me our season last year - we had a horror season sure - but I don’t feel we were beaten in a rider versus rider contest. We were beaten because of the technical support we had and the fundamental problems we had.

“As a company we have a responsibility to deliver Valentino something that is a bit better than what he had. It’s not like we finished every race and lost the title.

“Last year we had a series of mechanical errors that I think cost us the championship. You go out with the focus to win and I believe honestly that even with the problems we had, we could live with anyone of them but we couldn’t live with them all.

“The focus this year is obviously to have fewer problems and to get results. Every year is a tough year but I’m not used to losing either.

“It grinds my guts a bit and we’ll be doing everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We've had a good start but that's all it is. There's a long way to go."

Burgess denied Rossi had become distracted early last year as he wrestled with his future and whether to stay in MotoGP or accept a multi-million pound deal to switch to Formula One.

“We are always focussed and we are always focussed on getting the best out of each race. We don’t look at the championship, we focus on the individual races, and if you win enough the championship will take care of itself, “commented Burgess, who said several other riders had missed the chance to pounce on Rossi’s misfortune in 2006.

Burgess added: “The truth of the matter is that as much as we lost there were a lot of other riders who should have been able to capitalise more on our bad luck then they did.

“My feeling is in many ways is that we shouldn’t have been as close as we were given the problems we had. The fact that we were within a chance at the end was a testament to the amount of effort that Valentino puts in. He went out there and raced every race for 25-points and you can do no more than that.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt