Sepang MotoGP: Jerry Burgess backs Valentino Rossi over Yamaha demands

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Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha crew chief Jerry Burgess has backed the Italian over his recent scathing attack on the Japanese factory. 

Rossi has threatened to quit Yamaha at the end of next season unless his demands for vast improvements in the performance of his 2008 YZR-M1 are met.

As well as being unhappy with the performance of Michelin tyres in 2007, which will see him move to Bridgestone rubber next season, the 28-year-old has now rounded on Yamaha after his comprehensive defeat to Ducati rival Casey Stoner.

Valentino Rossi’s YZR-M1 800cc machine has been left trailing behind Ducati, and last week he demanded big improvements, saying Yamaha owed him after the success he gave the Japanese factory with back-to-back world titles in 2004 and 2005.

Aussie Jerry Burgess has supported Valentino Rossi in his plea to Yamaha and he said Yamaha engineers were acutely aware that they are under severe pressure to bridge the performance gap to Ducati’s impressive GP7.

Jerry Burgess told MCN: “Valentino is within his rights to say that. We’ve said the same thing in our team meetings.

“It’s obvious when you see it on the speed charts, it would better to be in front. I think even Yamaha realise they have to do something.

“But when you physically can’t run the 100 metres in nine seconds, you can’t do it until you learn how to do it and it might not be an overnight thing.

“I don’t think there is a person at Yamaha who doesn’t think we have to build the best motorcycle. We are trying to do that.

“What we’ve needed this year is a better motorcycle in terms of top speed and we need to start focussing on some of that side of it. Every company needs to improve their horsepower.

“Every rider will be asking for more horsepower, and I bet Casey is even asking for more.”

Valentino Rossi even suggested he wanted Yamaha to dump decades of tradition by scrapping its in-line four-cylinder motor to develop and race with a V4 like rivals Ducati, Honda and Suzuki.

But Jerry Burgess added: “I don’t think he’s got enough engineering knowledge to make that sort of statement, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong or right.

“It means having all the factors available to you and even I couldn’t say that. The race departments do not drive bike companies.

“The race departments are there to enhance the marketing department, that’s the important thing.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt