Jerry Burgess expects big Honda challenge

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Jerry Burgess reckons Honda could pose the most serious threat to Valentino Rossi’s hopes of winning the MotoGP crown at the first attempt with Ducati in 2011.

The Aussie, who is currently in Bologna to meet Ducati management and build-up the bikes Rossi will use at the next test in Sepang in early February, believes Honda has its strongest line-up in the 800cc era.

Honda hasn’t won a MotoGP title since 2006 and hasn’t come close to challenging for glory since 800cc capacity rules came into place a year later in ’07.

But next season the Japanese factory will unleash a four-pronged attack on the premier class crown with Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa leading the challenge.

Italian duo Andrea Dovizioso and Marco Simoncelli will also be on full factory RC212V machines.

Burgess told MCN: “We know Casey is fast and the Honda is a well sorted bike and it’s putting pressure on Dani.

“I know Honda is gearing up for a big push and everybody can see that from the people they have hired and that’s not only the riders. I guess everybody other than Yamaha is hoping for a change next season.”

Burgess believes Rossi left Yamaha in good shape to seriously threaten in 2011 with the Japanese factory bidding for a fourth successive title next season.

Yamaha has taken the triple crown of rider, team and constructor titles since 2008 and will run new world champion Jorge Lorenzo and American rookie sensation Ben Spies in ’11.

Burgess added: “I think they (Yamaha) are in good shape. It is an opportunity for a change and they are in good shape in terms of riders.”

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt