Jerry Burgess talks first win of 2009

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Valentino Rossi’s crew chief Jerry Burgess told MCN he was always confident that the Italian could fight his way to the front and win last weekend’s Spanish GP in Jerez.

Rossi ran into severe Bridgestone front tyre grip problems during the weekend, which left the 30-year-old only fourth on the grid.

But ride height changes transformed the reigning world champion’s factory YZR-M1 and Rossi passed Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa to win his first race of 2009 to move to the top of the world championship standings after three races.

Reflecting on the race, Burgess said: “My feeling was that Casey hadn’t been strong all weekend.

“He was diabolically strong here for testing and we came here knowing that we were 0.7s slower than the Ducati at this track in cooler conditions of late March. We knew we had to find something and we thought we had found it on Friday.

“As it turned out we learned a lot by being good on Friday afternoon and bad on Saturday morning. We reversed the situation you normally have. You normally have a bad bike and make it better and we had a good bike and made it worse.

“You look at the factors and work out logically what you need to do. We could see Casey wasn’t have a field day either and we knew what Jorge had next door. We know that Dani is strong here and the fact that Dani didn’t keep going away didn’t worry me.

“We held the gap at 1.1 and 1.2 to him even when we were behind Casey. Once we got by Casey, Valentino took a measured view of how many laps were left and worked out what grip levels he had and what performance we had in the bike and he went from that.

“We passed Dani in a place where perhaps he hadn’t expected to be passed. On the split times I could see we’d catch a bit by the end of the back straight and our third section was very, very good and it allowed Valentino to come out of turn eight with enough speed to put the bike in front going into nine.

“That negated the advantage on the home straight that Dani had shown. He pulled a few bike lengths on us on the straight.

“Once we got the pass in the right spot we were able to make it stick and he couldn’t come back.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt