Italian MotoGP: Jerry Burgess refuses to write off Casey Stoner

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Valentino Rossi’s experienced crew chief Jerry Burgess has refused to write off Casey Stoner’s hopes of mounting a successful MotoGP title defence in 2008.

The Australian’s 16th place finish in Le Mans earlier this month saw him fall a massive 41-points adrift of Rossi with just five races completed. And Ducati rider Stoner already effectively needs Rossi to have two non-finishes just to get back on level terms.

But with Valentino Rossi bidding to extend his incredible record in Mugello to seven successive victories on Sunday, Burgess concedes that while Stoner has a mountain to climb to retain his crown, he is not out of contention.

“Clearly he (Stoner) needs three guys to have two bad days and the chances of that happening are relatively slim, but Casey’s job now is to go out and win races and win as many as he can and see what happens in front of him. It’s the way he’s got to race.

“We’ve got to do it from the front and he’s got to do it from where he stands.

“It was unfortunate he had the engine problem in Le Mans and if the guys in front of him have one dud race then things won’t look as bad. Every rider faces this sort of problem at some stage,” said Burgess.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt