Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess has conceded it will be difficult for the Fiat Yamaha rider to expose a weakness in Casey Stoner’s when the MotoGP world championship resumes in Mugello this weekend.
Rossi goes into his home race trailing Stoner by 21-points having won just one of the opening five races.
And Burgess believes Stoner will continue to prove Rossi’s most formidable opponent with the 21-year-old making a brilliant start to his factory Ducati career.
“Casey is a pretty complete rider, he’s good in all conditions and we always knew he could ride in the rain conditions. The Ducati has proved that the blinding speed it has in the dry isn’t handicap in the rain, as we have seen with some engine characters in previous years.
“So we would find it extremely difficult to find a weakness in Casey and Ducati. The next race is Italy and you’ve got an Italian company in Italy and you’ve got an Italian rider in Italy, so both sides will be going hard,” said Burgess.
Burgess also said it was ironic that he was fighting to beat an Australian rider with Italian mechanics, while Rossi is fighting Stoner with largely Australian mechanics.
“I suppose it is, but they would be asking the same question in the Ducati garage because Casey has Italian mechanics and here we have Australian mechanics for an Italian rider. It won’t change anything; Casey is doing a great job,” he added.
The next two races in Mugello and Catalunya both feature long straights which will give Stoner the chance to utilise his top speed advantage on Ducati’s impressive new GP7.
“Stoner has triumphed over Rossi in Qatar and Shanghai where the 28-year-old was powerless to beat Stoner on the straights on the slower Yamaha YZR-M1.
Burgess said the long straights in Mugello and Barcelona were a cause for a concern based on previous evidence and he told MCN: “Certainly we are going to want a good lead coming onto the straight at Mugello, and hopefully the nimble handling of the Yamaha will get us through the chicane at the top quick enough.
“We do have Valentino Rossi on the bike so that’s a big help. Barcelona is a bit more technical in some areas and if we can get a break before the start finish line it might be OK.
“We’ll wait and see if Casey wants to open it up a bit or thinks he can be conservative, but knowing Casey he will be going for wins, he likes going fast.”
Burgess added that it was obvious Stoner will hold a key advantage on the straights at the next two races, and that was a big help to the young Australian in terms of race management and tactics.
“Certainly from what I’ve seen Valentino is equal to anyone in the corners, he’s got seven world titles. I don’t want to degrade Casey because his bike has superior speed but it perhaps allows him to be conservative in the corners,” said Burgess.