Burgess eyes Pedrosa GP threat

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Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess has backed the Italian’s belief that factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa will pose the biggest threat in the 2007 MotoGP world championship.

Rossi names Pedrosa as the rival he believes will pose the most serious threat to his hopes of regaining the world title he surrendered in a dramatic last round shootout with Nicky Hayden last October.

At the recent IRTA test in Jerez Rossi and Pedrosa dominated and Burgess said he isn’t going to disagree with the 28-year-old, and
said: “Dani’s debut year was fantastic and we knew he was a good rider. He’d got three world championships under his belt and just as the guys knew when Valentino came in 2000 we knew that he was going to be in it.

"Dani has had his learning year, but we haven’t seen him under a lot of pressure. Valentino would know better than me, and if he expects Dani to be the toughest then I’m not going to argue."

Burgess said the critical test of Pedrosa’s credentials would come when he was faced with racing Rossi week in week out. The pair’s rivalry was hyped up last season but never really materialised and Burgess said: “In the first year like everybody you have to go into the A grade and see where you sit comfortably and then set about looking back on what’s going on and improving the areas where you feel you could be better.  MotoGP is a different world. It’s not just Honda versus Aprilia anymore. There’s a lot more to it than that. All the guys racing in MotoGP are in a very special category. They are trying to win the top accolade and be world champion.”

On the odd occasion that Rossi and Pedrosa did clash on track last season, the Spaniard went public with his feelings that the factory Yamaha rider had been over aggressive.

But Burgess, who has won five world titles in tandem with Rossi said: 
“Dani has come out of the cut and thrust of 125 and 250 racing and this is the top of it all. I’d expect periodically that you couldn’t share the same piece of ground even if both bikes are heading in that direction. You both want it and contact from time to time is unavoidable.

“It’s not something we want to see as a regular thing and over the years I’ve never heard of any complaints about anybody being a constant aggressor. And I know the guys currently riding don’t have a reputation for it.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt