Although there is no official confirmation that Valentino Rossi will leave Yamaha and join the Ducati Factory MotoGP team next year, there is already much speculation that his long-time crew chief, Jeremy Burgess, will split from Rossi and work with a younger rider, such as Casey Stoner at Honda or Ben Spies, also currently at Yamaha.
Burgess is a legend in motorcycle roadracing, having worked with a long string of successful riders, including five-time World 500cc champ Mick Doohan, whom Burgess guided forward with his technical expertise.
That technical expertise is also desired by Honda, according to a report by Solo Moto, which indicates the big factory is attempting to lure Burgess to team up with Casey Stoner beginning next year. Apparently, Honda thinks this would be an unbeatable combination, and the beginning of a long relationship with Stoner/Burgess (and many World titles). Burgess, for his part, says he is happy to stay with Yamaha regardless of what Rossi decides to do next year.
The split makes sense for a couple of reasons. First of all, Rossi is likely to retire within a year or two, and Burgess has traditionally moved from one winning rider to another that is much younger. Second, Ducati typically relies on Italians for technical expertise on its MotoGP team, and might not be the best fit for Burgess.
Time will sort all of this out, of course, but now that Stoner has officially announced that he is moving to Honda, there are still a few pieces to next year’s puzzle that need to fall into place. Expect those pieces to appear within the next few weeks.