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Jeremy Burgess with one eye on next season

Jeremy Burgess with one eye on next season

In an interview with former GP rider Daryl Beattie, Valentino Rossi’s Crew Chief on the Ducati Team discusses how the switch to the Italian factory in 2011 has gone so far, and the change in Technical Regulations which come into effect in 2012.

Speaking to former GP rider Daryl Beattie, Jeremy Burgess spoke about a range of subjects, starting with the switch to Ducati with Valentino Rossi for the 2011 campaign.

“It’s been a hard start, clearly, with Valentino’s injury” Burgess told Beattie an interview for Australian channel One HD. “The bike was being built at the end of last year and not leading into the first race, and I think ideally having a fit rider we could have had a bit of a stronger bike in Qatar. But it is what it is, we’re now starting to make progress and in the break we had prior to the Portugal race Valentino’s fitness improved a lot and we had a very good Test on the Monday after the race.”

“We got what we wanted (at the Estoril Test) and both parts – the chassis and the engine – were improvements. We need more in both directions. If this was the second Test at Sepang I’d have been very happy, unfortunately it’s the first Test during the Grand Prix season and we’re a little bit behind.”

He continued: “I think initially we’ll always be playing catch up (to the likes of Honda and Yamaha), of course until we get ahead of them. We haven’t been doing nothing, we have been working significantly with the electronics which we have tidied up a lot and passed on to the riders in the satellite teams who have all verified that it is better. The chassis was better in the Test as was the engine, so if we can take that a little further we’ll be getting closer and being able to make sure that we do keep going forward.”

Prior to the start of the 2011 season there was a lot of discussion surrounding the machine inherited from Burgess’ fellow Australian Casey Stoner.

“Casey without a doubt is a fantastic rider and did a wonderful job on that bike, but there were too many DNFs,” said Burgess. “Sometimes, and in this particular instance, I think Ducati let themselves down a little bit in the sense that they only analysed the success, they never analysed the failures. They treated the DNFs and crashes as bad luck rather than looking at it as if there might be something not quite right, and Casey had to ride perhaps too close to the limit to win the races he did. The margin that Casey had on that bike is perhaps a lot slimmer than what we would like to have on the bike that Valentino rides.”

Progress has been made by Burgess and Rossi in adapting the machine to be closer to the Italian’s style and requirements, and following the Portugal Test a podium at Le Mans was the fruit of their labours. There is still a lot to continue improving believes Burgess, who said: “There are certain things we can do to continue through this year and improve, and there are certain things we can do to probably accelerate our bike for next year.”

Speaking about the 2012 season, in which the introduction of new Technical Regulations will see the engine capacity limit raised to 1,000cc, Burgess commented: “I don’t think you’ll see much difference in who’s winning the races in terms of riders, I hope Valentino’s at the front a bit more! Genuinely I think it’ll be the same top four or five riders each week.”

“I find it a little bit disappointing going back to 1,000cc. I think companies such as Suzuki for example would like to see some sort of stability in the regulations so that we can all work through to a more equal competition. I know that from talking with Yamaha last year they would like to build a V4 engine but while the regulations are continuing to change they don’t have the manpower to allow that to happen. So they will go into the competition next year with another inline-four engine so it sort of stops the improvement development when you’re jumping from one set of regulations to another.”

Asked whether he felt the challenge undertaken in the change to Ducati was the toughest of his career to date, Burgess was not so sure.

“I think the early days with Mick (Doohan) were probably as tough, Honda hadn’t won the Championship for a number of years, and there was an expectation there in the early 90s that we should,” he explained. “In those years there was a lot of pressure from Japan. I think I can handle that sort of pressure better now than I could back then, but I probably still remember those years as the toughest. Ask me again in December!”

MotoGP, 2011, Valentino Rossi, Ducati Team

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