Whither JB? The Mysterious Future Of Jeremy Burgess

As the moment approaches that Valentino Rossi is expected to announce that he will be joining Ducati, speculation is turning to the future of his crew chief, Jeremy Burgess. The Australian veteran has been Rossi's crew chief since the Italian moved up the then 500cc class with the HRC-backed Nastro Azzurro team, and has been with him ever since. Burgess followed Rossi from Nastro Azzurro to the factory Repsol Honda squad, and from there to Yamaha, where he helped Rossi become just the second rider in history to win back-to-back championships on two different machines. 

So the paddock at the Sachsenring saw a string of journalists sidling up to Jerry Burgess to make discrete enquiries about what his plans were for next year. But Burgess has been in the paddock for a very long time, and has mastered the art of the Sphinx-like response, that supplies little in the way of information and leaves everything to the imagination of the journalist concerned.

This skill probably explains why there has been a string of conflicting reports in the Spanish and Italian press over the past couple of days about where Jeremy Burgess is heading next year. According to the veteran Spanish journalist Manuel Pecino in Solomoto, Burgess is heading to Honda, to work with Casey Stoner and more importantly, to help develop Honda's 1000cc MotoGP bike, due to be introduced when the rules change for the 2012 season. Yet the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that Burgess will be staying at Yamaha, leaving Rossi to depart for Ducati on his own.

So which of these two conflicting accounts is true? Taking into account Burgess' guile at handling the press, it is very hard to say. There are a lot of reasons why the Australian veteran could make the move back to Honda, the company he spent 21 years with between 1983 and Rossi's departure to Yamaha in 2004. Since the arrival of Shuhei Nakamoto as vice president of HRC, Honda has pursued a radically aggressive hiring policy with respect to both riders and technical staff.

HRC poached electronics experts Andrea Zugna and Cristian Battaglia from Yamaha to work on the new electronics package fitted to the 2010 Honda RC212V. At the same time, the Japanese giant lured former Ducati team boss Livio Suppo away from the Bologna factory, to act as commercial director and team manager for the factory Repsol Honda team from next year. Honda has sinced announced the signing of current Marlboro Ducati rider Casey Stoner to a two-year deal with the factory team, probably as a teammate to current Repsol rider Dani Pedrosa.

Given Burgess' reputation at developing motorcycles - the turnaround at Yamaha, from an uncompetitive machine to the bike that Rossi won the 2004 world championship on and went on to dominate in 2005 on, is put down in very large part to Burgess' technical skill and his ability to get things done - he is clearly a prime target for Honda to help develop the 2012 Honda RC213V ready for the new rules.

But Burgess himself may also be ready to move on. The Australian always said that he intended to retire when Rossi retired, but as the Italian multiple world champion extended his career, so did Burgess. A switch to Ducati with Rossi would be going over old ground for Burgess, attempting to repeat the success of his switch from Honda to Yamaha. Burgess has always spoken of his desire to work with young riders, to help them develop their skills along with the bikes they are working on, and the opportunity to work with Casey Stoner could be just the challenge the Australian is looking for.

However, Burgess has also expressed his loyalty to Yamaha, telling the Gazzetta dello Sport "I've worked so much with this team and I'm happy to stay here." Burgess plays a key role in the development of Yamaha's YZR-M1, helping it to remain probably the best bike on the MotoGP grid, and could continue that role for the new bike expected to be introduced when MotoGP switches to 1000cc in 2012.

If Burgess does stay at Yamaha, however, he would be unlikely to continue in his current role as crew chief. Jorge Lorenzo already has an excellent working relationship with his own crew chief Ramon Forcada, the Spanish pairing solving the rear grip issues early in the season where the Rossi/Burgess combination continued to struggle. And with Ben Spies almost certain to move up into the seat vacated by Rossi in the factory Fiat Yamaha team, bringing his own crew chief Tom Houseworth with him, that position is filled on the other side of the Fiat Yamaha garage as well.

Speculation has grown that Burgess could take on an overarching role, acting as a technical coordinator between the Fiat Yamaha garage and Yamaha racing, but no plans have been confirmed for the creation of such a position. With both crew chief positions filled, that would be the only role that would seem to fit Burgess at Yamaha, though.

Interestingly, there are few signs that Burgess will follow Rossi to Ducati. Burgess himself has been vague on the issue, and when Rossi was asked at the Sachsenring whether he would be working with Burgess next year, he replied coyly "You'll have to ask Jeremy!"

The early expectation was that Burgess would go to Ducati with his rider, but there are a number of factors mitigating against it. Firstly, Burgess has spent all of his career dealing with Japanese racing departments, which have a completely different culture to the one prevalent at Ducati Corse. Secondly, Ducati Corse is an almost exclusively Italian affair, with the vast majority of its personnel hailing from Italy, and often from close to the Ducati factory in Borgo Panigale.

Perhaps most significantly, Ducati is the one factory at which Valentino Rossi would be able to drive development without a helping hand from Burgess. Rossi lives just a ninety-minute drive away from the Ducati Corse offices in Bologna, and is good friends with Ducati's MotoGP chief and technical guru Filippo Preziosi. Communication with Preziosi would be extremely direct, in a way that is simply not possible with a racing department halfway round the world.

Most of all, Rossi's analysis and development skills, and more importantly, his ability to express himself clearly on the changes needed, mean that Ducati and Rossi will be able to communicate perfectly well without any intervention. When Rossi rode Yamaha's YZF R1-based World Superbike machine at Misano and Brno, Yamaha's WSBK engineers said afterwards they'd learned more in those couple of hours than they had learned all season from their regular riders. With the ability to communicate directly in his own language, and with a hotline into Preziosi's office, Ducati may be the one team where Rossi does not need Burgess' assistance.

Just where Burgess will end up will probably only become clear at the end of the year. Rossi is expected to announce his signing with Ducati after the race at Brno, but an announcement on Burgess' future could come much later, perhaps as late as Valencia. As the Rossi-to-Ducati story starts to wind down, the story of his crew chief is set to run and run.

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Prior to the broken leg, Lorenzo/Forcada were fixing problems on the M1 that Rossi/Burgess were not able to solve.

Does Rossi look at that and decide that it's now time to mix it up a bit, and for he and Burgess to go separate ways? How much is Rossi pressing for Burgess to go to Ducati?

Furusawa is required to retire at the end of this year, IIRC. According to Toby and Jules he's stuck performing his obligatory duties to transition Yamaha to a new technical director. If Furusawa is tied up with administrative formalities, he may not be able to pull strings in the development department to get the Rossi/Burgess tandem to the front of the line.

I doubt Rossi/Burgess have forgotten how to develop a bike, look what they did in 2008; however, I do think they might be stuck mid-development cycle without Furusawa to help them out. On the other side of the garage, Lorenzo/Forcada have made the standard Yamaha-developed bike work perfectly.

I suspect Furusawa has given Rossi and Burgess free rein during their tenure so his departure means the 2 of them need to find a new gig or get in line with the next technical director.

David, great article though it breaks my heart and i cant help but think you may have nailed it....to see rossi without Jerry will be painfull. I hope that if he doesnt go with Vale he stays put at yamaha. To see him working with Casey would be the ultimate knife in the heart.....Go with Rossi or take a tech director job at yamaha....please!

but for JB? for years now he has had nothing but good things to say about Stoner. more than once over several years now has he said that he would enjoy working with Casey.

fantastic article David. what i love the most about motomatters is that there is a brain at work here. this isn't fanboi fantasy/speculation, or straight reporting and rehashing of press releases. it is deep analysis given data from a variety of very interesting sources. kudos. even if you are probably completely wrong, of course, hehe


I've heard JB say good things about Casey and I've heard him be critical. Today's MCN reports him as saying "I want to see Casey working for Casey, not trailing round behind Danny looking like he's working for Honda before he's joined the team." and "I still don't think Honda have got enough cards in their hand to win the championship." (next year) The headline of the piece is 'Stoner won't give Honda the MotoGP championship'. That doesn't sound like the words of a man who wants to work with Casey next year.

Some intermediate role between Yamaha Crew Chiefs and the Yamaha Factory seems like a perfect role for JB before he rides off into the sunset.

"When Rossi rode Yamaha's YZF R1-based World Superbike machine at Misano and Brno, Yamaha's WSBK engineers said afterwards they'd learned more in those couple of hours than they had learned all season from their regular riders."

Would appreciate a link to the article referencing the above, please. I'd find it interesting to read the full article.

i know you are busy as am i but a more regular return on motogpod would be great we miss your insight....sorry David for using this forum for this post!

My guess is that he will retire there are very few positions available to him and hes ready for retirement has been for a number of years now it was only rossi keeping him going.

Sit back in the land of Aus and enjoy jerry

As usual, ofcourse.
I, too, wonder if maybe JB will retire next year. I certainly don't hope so though and allthough it will be the end of an era, personally I think it would be great to see him work with CS. Knife in the heart I don't think so, since Rossi is the first to jump.
I heard JB sees great potential in De Puniet too, that would make an interesting combination (in another universe where RdP would be riding for HRC ofcourse).

Interesting stuff.

the hard truth is:

29 year old racers are not "potential" anymore... rdp calmed down and had two good seasons but he's never going to be a factory rider again.

I think that either way will bring new challenges and satisfactions to both Rossi and Burgess. Besides the Agostini records the only metaphorical asterisk left is that he could only do it with help from Burgess. Burgess may have been an indispensable driving force in Rossi's success, but I think that like any teacher/pupil relationship (whether it be bidirectional or not) should end and the people should move on to new things. Rossi can prove he can win without Burgess and maybe if Burgess goes back to Honda or another manufacturer he can show that it's his kind of input that is critical. His comments in the past have seem to be patient and without much ego suggesting he would not be driven by something to prove, though that kind of success would surely be satisfying to anyone. In the same way, it's easier to see how Honda would seek him out with even more passion to prove that it was in deed the 'engineering' rather than the rider in the case of the early RC211V success. Estimations of percent contribution to success of rider or machine aside, no one can do it alone. I'm sure Honda would like to nudge the perception just a bit.

He could surprise everyone and go to Suzuki instead! ;P

He would have new challenges (huuuuge ones), still work with a Japanese company and have the opportunity to work with a young rider (Bautista). Voila, perfect solution! I'm surprised neither Spanish nor Italian media have published that option yet. ;)

I see 2 reasons why that would never happen.... 1 suzuki doesnt have the money and 2 even if they did he wouldnt make a difference until they were serious about spending the money needed to develop the bike into a winner!

MCN is running a brief article in todays edition stating that Burgess has said that although he has had talks with Yamaha management, he has not spoken to Rossi at all re a possible move to Ducati ie. Rossi has not asked him. Could Rossi really be about to ditch JB rather than the other way round? I find the thought staggering but maybe Forcadas success with JL this season has caused VR doubts as to whether JB has had his day? I have always loved seeing JB and VR together- always had a karate kid & Mr Mowagi vibe to it.
Unless he has a new crew chief in mind that he wants to work with Id be amazed if VR now thinks that he can dispense with the likes of JB. Sure VR can give good technical feedback but he is always going to need the likes of JB to translate that into the right physical change to the bike. If Rossi thinks he's outgrown JB then I think he's in trouble. I will be very disapointed in him if that the case, as a) he's probably gonna regret it, b) what bloody arrogance and c)wheres the loyalty? JB has taken bloody good care of VR for 10 years and followed him to Yamaha when he didn't have to.

Hankmarvin - you've captured it well. As a marketing man myself who is into racing, I have often reflected on the brand archetypes behind these stars and what connects them. The VR/JB relationship is very much the Hero and the Sage. As you rightly point out, Karate Kid and Mr Miyagi or Luke Skywalker and OWK. Hmmm...

David - superb article with interesting food for thought. May I also say how much I enjoy reading each post here from all you various contributors - so much depth and insight. :-)

Having read VR's book where he talks about moving to Yamaha and Jerry's struggles to decide whether to follow him or not, I think JB is ready to sever the relationship. I think the thought of going back to Honda would appeal to him partly from a loyalty perspective and partly to see if he can actually do a Rossi - helping Casey and Honda into another level of dominance. It would be very much in line with the archetypal structure. The Sage is not always there - only chooses to pitch in when his young Hero needs him. He provides the 'Light Sabre'. Rossi to Yamaha in 2004 had all the elements of the same structure. Young Hero seeking fresh challenges and going the the Underdog. Sage accompanying him. No longer true. JB is perhaps looking for a new 'young Hero'. Remember Casey himself is a Hero - turning that underdog Ducati into a feared winner.

If indeed Honda will retain Dani and Dovi and field a third bike with Casey, then it might be interesting to see what that bike would be like. What 'magic ingredient' would JB/CS be able to conjure up?

I don't think there is any of the Aussie bonding at work here. These guys are post-nationals.

I love to play all of the angles and jump to conclusions, but I think your conclusion is too speculative.

I don't think it is appropriate to entertain the idea that Rossi has turned his back on JB. JB is an old man with 25 years experience who could very well be ready to retire or move beyond crew chief. At the very least, you'd expect him to be resistant to the idea of joining a new manufacturer so late in the game. Besides, no one thought Rossi was leaving Burgess until a few weeks ago when news broke that Rossi's salary had been cut and that Furusawa had mandatory retirement on the horizon.

If you want my crazy speculative reason for the split, I believe Dorna moved Rossi/Burgess to Yamaha b/c the health of the sport was in question. I believe Honda let them go under the pretense that it would probably take several years for Yamaha to get their act together and it was vital for Honda to have a competitor. Rossi was not in on it, but Burgess was. He took Rossi to Yamaha b/c that's what the sport needed. I think Rossi was genuinely mad at Honda b/c they knew he was leaving so they stopped listening, but the whole Honda vs. Rossi "we are going to crush Rossi" stuff is just tabloid fodder.

I believe the days of Dorna throwing money at the Rossi/Yamaha marriage is at an end. Mission accomplished, Yamaha saved. Sport saved from becoming a spec RC211V series. But the imperative that held the crew together has passed. Now Rossi has a new mission to increase revenues to winning at Ducati. This time Rossi is wise to the game and he understands how it is played. No public tantrums about companies who don't listen or tales of "little bit crazy" adventures to a new manufacturer. This time he is in a quandary.

Whould I stay or should I go? If I go there will be trouble (hype, expectations, lost record attempts) and if I stay it will be double (Forcada/Lorenzo, no Furusawa). Should I stay or should I go?

Did you ever read Rossi's book? If you did, do you think it was all nonsense?

Rossi wouldn't race at Honda without JB. JB wanted to retire, but Honda convinced him to stay on. Yamaha approached Rossi, Rossi wouldn't go without JB. So who convinced JB? JB is not Rossi's oracle, and he doesn't need to notch championships to feel good about himself. The only reason he would go to Yamaha is to accomplish some kind of task like the development of a new bike, saving the second most successful GP company of the modern era, or improving the competitive landscape of GP. To suggest that Dorna helped it along is not the least bit crazy. Toss a little money in the pot to raise JB's salary. Talk to him at races to try and convince him to go. Talk to HRC about it. This is the work of black helicopters?

Think about how much these deals are worth commercially. Rossi to Yamaha to attempt a Lawson. Rossi to Ducati to be the first Italian since ago to win on an Italian bike while chasing Ago's all time win record. These are Hollywood scripts. Who do you think paid Angel Nieto to give Rossi a lift when Rossi eclipsed his win total?

Dorna would be fools not to try and move the pieces around. We already know they scout riders and subsidize their salaries to improve the value to national TV companies. How much do you think Rossi to Ducati is worth? 10m? You're kidding yourself if you don't think Dorna meddle in these affairs.

Does the NFL twist arms and subsidize the construction of new stadiums? Does F1 screw with entire national governments? Does FIFA meddle in international politics? These sporting entities and their commercial rights holders are powerful enough to sway governments, but Dorna/CVC (at the time IIRC) couldn't put together a deal to convince Rossi to go to Yamaha? ;-D

Sometimes I wonder why people bother to call these theories conspiracies. Perhaps Dorna did not have a major role in Rossi's Yamaha switch or Rossi's possible switch to Ducati, but to pretend that they just sit aroud and take a laissez faire approach is more preposterous than the "conspiracy". Naivety is the conspiracy. ;-)

Those are your words. I don't think they differ much from 'conspiracy theory' if you think the influence of the organizing body is big enough to decide where riders go. Do you think the move to Ducati is initiated, no, financed by Dorna?

Retirement seems to be the logical choice here for JB. He has expressed in the past his willingness to retire once Rossi does, and if he isn't offered a role at Ducati then the retirement option seems logical.

I would love to see him go to Honda with Stoner but not sure if that is going to happen though.

Years ago I interviewed JB when I was a rookie motorsport reporter (and fair to say I was sh!tting myself) and I asked about Casey's "future" in MotoGP and whether Casey needed to win a 250 title to really launch himself into MotoGP- JB said that he did not need a 250 title and that Casey had many options in MotoGP and he would like to work with him one day.
For all the comments JB made about Casey and Honda recently, I think he's gaming the system. It seems his inference is that Casey can't win at Honda *UNLESS*... JB gets aboard?
As an Australian I would LOVE to see JB and CS27 work together. I think Casey is badly misunderstood at times (and he does not help his own case on occasion as well), and I think that working with JB would be all WIN for him- better bike development (and I think the Honda will be the bike of choice in 2011), better attitude and perhaps, just perhaps a MotoGP title. Would do the series a mountain of good...

JB is always a wily one, I agree in the sense that Honda could still be missing a few pieces and JB has always been one to call it as he sees it. I don't think it's a swipe at CS27 or HRC, just acknowledging that team Honda is still catching up to the overall performance of Yamaha and Ducati in recent years. Honda factory bikes aren't the unassailable giants that they were back in the days when Doohan and Rossi were onboard (NSR500 and RC211V?), although they have turned the corner from a couple of years ago.

David, your comment about JB working with Japanese factories rings true. Maybe we need a "Pit Crew Silly Season" page to keep track of all the rumours, freudian slips and hyperbole? :P

JB & CS27 would be interesting: Gardner, Doohan...Stoner? How about an all-Aussie team? :D

With both Rossi and Burgess entering the latter stages of their careers, perhaps they both think it would enhance their respective legacies to have a few wins without eachother. Burgess would be regarded as maybe the most influential man in GP history if he can now go back to Honda and produce world championships with Casey Stoner. And Rossi's rep would be similiarly inflated if he could go to Ducati and win without JB.

Thomasrdotorg I agree completely about the calming effect Burgess could have on Stoner.. that much experience combined with that much talent, combined with that many resources.. scary thought indeed!

Stoner/JB at Honda in a one man team against Rossi, Lorenzo defending his world title and Dani with everything to prove - bring on 2011!!!

Not sure if he was throwing us off his trail but when JB guest hosted the GP coverage on OneHD in Australia a few weeks ago, Darryl Beattie asked JB if Rossi moved to Ducati what were his plans?

JB answered by saying: "I guess its up to Valentino as to what we are doing next year"

At the time it was confusing as you don't know whether that meant if Rossi was moving on from MotoGP or just from Yamaha, or for that matter if he was moving from Yamaha at all. Draw from it what you will but Rossi appears a sentimental man and I can't see him moving to Ducati without JB - but thats personal opinion.

Rossi has been playing this game for a fair while already. He knows what needs to be done to set-up a bike. Witness the article comment on the WSBK R1. For sure JB has been a large part of VR's success, but a pupil does learn and I feel Rossi will be fine without J.B. No doubt Ducati have some extremely competent engineers. Rossi simply needs a good sound board to bounce ideas off.

JB & CS. I doubt it. I would've thought JB would've preferred such a relationship when Stoner was still a raw rookie. Casey has a pretty good idea of what's going on too.

Rossi and Burgess at Ducati would be taking the love affair a step too far..

If there were records and championships for crew chiefs, Jerry would be in a class of one with very little chance of anyone ever emulating his achievements.. but make no mistake, this is Rossis call with a big nudge from Ducati...
For Vale to be credited with turning Ducati into championship winners again, he must cut him loose or there will forever be snipers saying it was all down to Burgess.. The Idea of an Aussie crew chief taking credit over a close knit Italian factory, rider and personnel is not going to happen and it makes sense for them to part company.

I too watched JB doing his guest appearance on One HD. I think they were covering Silverstone. It was probably not so much what JB did say about his future but what he didn't that spoke volumes. If you can source a download somewhere I sure it will put all the rumours to bed. Maybe I should keep this too myself, keep the odds long for a reasonable return.

Interesting article!

It seems clear from last year developments onwards, that Honda is very willing to invest in becoming World Champion again.

Although with Japanse pride in the way, even if Rossi was interested, they would not be hiring him anyway.

BUT there is also another guy who 'gave' them multiple world championships : JB !! Why not throw some money at him and let him do his magic all over again. History repeating......

Great article again David. I would not want to call a bet on JB's plans.Smart money would be for him to make an announcement after Rossi shows his hand.
Rossi to Ducati,JB to #27.
I'll wait for official word...patience.

"When Rossi rode Yamaha's YZF R1-based World Superbike machine at Misano and Brno, Yamaha's WSBK engineers said afterwards they'd learned more in those couple of hours than they had learned all season from their regular riders."


Yes yes yes.. I know the usual line, Rossi is God, etc.. etc.. etc.. but seriously? a bike he's barely ridden? Hobbling on one leg? Crutch in hand? Seriously?

Ya ya ya... Rossi is amazing as usual no surprise there and so forth but seriously? Have the "regular riders" been doing f-all, all season or something?

The point of all this is my being impressed with Rossi is only overshadowed by my profound disappointment with "the regular riders" I mean come on??!!! I'm not claiming I can hop on the R1 and just mop the floor with the world's best but seriously?

Rossi's leg really wasn't that much of a problem. It's got a pin in it, and that takes most of the load. What Rossi was complaining about at the Sachsenring (and presumably what was troubling him at Brno) was stretching the leg and moving it back and forward. But his biggest problem has been his shoulder, and he's been working very hard to fix that. So the amazement shouldn't be about Rossi's injuries, but about his development abilities. He knows how to fix a bike. 

Rossi allegedly changed the base setting immediately after his first stint. IIRC he said something about the ride height being too low and it was causing weight distribution and suspension problems. He then proceeded to break the circuit record.

It's legit, imo.

Oh well yes, adjusting the ride height, yes sure of course... Determining an imbalance in weight distribution which is negatively affecting the suspension, of course of course... clearly the work of genius..

If I sound sarcastic it's cause I am, and no I'm not berating you nor David. The fact that his less than perfect leg/health wasn't a factor imo only goes to further my point not lessen it.

I'm sorry to rag on "the current riders" but does it really take no one less than the greatest of all time and the rookie who won (yes won) 50% of all the SBK races last year to figure out you need to lift the seat a bit?

Again I find myself profoundly disillusioned by "the current riders". Yes I'm a yam supporter and I'd love to see them be more competitive, however I sincerely don't get that you basically have to call god over to lend a helping hand cause frankly we just can't get the bike figured out.

Perhaps they should pull Mladin out of retirement and toss him on the Sterilgarda bike. Frankly he was basically the equal of last years rookie three years running.

If the Yamaha Italia crew said that Rossi pulled out a guitar in the pits and played Europa better than Santana or Scuttle Buttin' better than Stevie Ray Vaughn, we could all have a collective puke about the ills of the halo effect.

However, we are talking about Rossi on a motorcycle. Why would you be sickened to hear that Yamaha Italia got more feedback from Rossi in 1 session than they had gotten from Toseland and Crutchlow all season? Those reports are consistent with Rossi's skill set and the times he posted at Brno.

Ducati doesn't have the funds to pay both Rossi and Burgess. Rossi will probably take a greatly reduced "salary" (not his endorsements) to ride for the Italian manufacturer.

Rossi really doesn't need Burgess to mediate his thoughts to Ducati (as has been said already).

Rossi wants to prove he can win a championship without Burgess. He is a risk taker and if he can pull off a championship on a Duc it will forever prove that he is the GOAT. Agostini, step off the top box please.

I don't know enough about the politics and economics of it, but I'm sure Burgess and Stoner would love to work together to win a championship for Austrailia.

Just my opinions.

Ducati have more than enough money to pay both Rossi & JB. From the banks of Philip Morris and Fiat.

I thought Marlboro was offering much more then Yamaha for Rossi to make the switch.
In that case I'm sure they have enough for J.B.
But they may not want J.B. to make the move with Rossi for the reasons stated in this article and all the comments

Help me out peeps. What kind of feedback do you think Rossi gives? Does he get off the bike and say" the ride height is wrong, the fork oil is too heavy, the steering head angle needs adjusting etc... or does he come in and say the bike is too nervous under brakes, its washing wide etc etc?" I suspect its more like the second than the first and surely thats the same as all riders and hence why they need a crew chief who translates their seat of the pants feeling to a technical solution/adjustment. The trick is obviously picking the correct parameter to choose from the many available. Surely Rossi cannot be without a JB-like crew chief? If thats correct then he must have lost faith in him, if it really is the case that Rossi has not asked and been turned down by JB re the move? That I find pretty amazing.

What do others think?

As I understand it, Rossi can give technical feedback as well. He can say that the weight needs to be further forward, instead of just that the balance of the bike is wrong. He'll also give the same kind of "bike wants to wash out at the front / won't turn / sliding too much" feedback that other riders will, but he can also identify technical solutions fairly well.

I did wonder earlier in the season whether their magic was waning. J-Lo and his crew chief seemed to be able to sort stuff more quickly than VR/JB did, but then came the shoulder injury, which hampered VR at two races. This, followed by the broken leg, meant we weren't able to see if they would have got it back.

There's a lot of sense in the all-Italian dynamic - maybe VR really doesn't need JB in that scenario.

But why not have JB anyway. Its not like he's a dictatorial type and VR would have the fall-back that if his idea re the required change didn't work- well "then then lets try your idea JB"

I think the whole JL/Forcada thing is the issue as others have identified. Simply put VR has lost faith in JB. Watching JL solve his rear tyre grip issues immediately and consequently out-ride him has made VR lose so much faith as to be happy to dump JB. If that is VR's mindset then its very very sad if you ask me. Without resorting to stereo types re Italian passion, flair spontaneity but occasional ill-discipline, lack or thoroughness etc , surely JB would be a must for his incredible mechanical thoroughness if nothing else (last issue that VR had with a bike that I can recall is Le Mans 2006 (and that was acomplete engine loss- probably a Yamaha Japan cock-up)- not counting the pneumatic engine failures of 07 eg Misano). Casey on the other hand has had a myriad, from flailing Dorna cameras to clutch issues

Furusawa, Brivio, Burgess and Rossi parting ways...
I guess every good thing must eventually die, and I do think both Furusawa and Brivio deserve some credit in the Yamaha turnaround success too.

In any case, this mixing-up of talent in new teams is definitely going to add interest for next year.

Now, wouldn't the real challenge for JB consist in making Pedrosa champion?

Clearly his size make perfect bike development, fine-tuning and set-up even more crucial to obtain a result. If JB could add to the Dani/HRC combo what the receipe has been missing for 5 years it would be a bigger testament to his qualities almost than the string of Doohan&Rossi championships. JB would definitely be the secret ingredient.

I guess this will not happen, but I so see either a JB/Stoner match plausible or, even better JB as technical head of HRC making CS, SP and Dovi all competitive. Wow!

I just can't see JB working with Casey, JB's a man who measures his words like his riders and Casey doesn't. Add to that I imagine that JB would spring a leak if he thought any of his riders were cruising as Casey so obviously was last weekend.
The Honda top guy said recently that they would also welcome Rossi back. If Yamaha are putting all behind Jorge(Considering he hasn't won anything yet) then it's as big a kick as honda gave Rossi. 3 races and Rossi injured for two cannot give a real impression of the balance of power. Last year Rossi was still behind JLo after 5 races and Rossi won with races to spare.
Would love to see Rossi back at Honda with JB, him and Dani would make a good team and both of them have complimented each other many times.
Looking at how aggressive honda are I can easily see them harking back to the good days of 2003 and before(and even 2004 to an extent) where they basically had what Yam have, a great product and the best riders out there. It'd be easy to see Honda fielding 4 instead of three bikes.
Anyway dream over, not convinced of the Ducati deal just yet, as their approach, dare I say it, just seems a little to emotional for me and no matter where Rossi goes he wil be going to win races..

I recall Jeremy Burgess making a statement to the effect of not thinking about retirement until Rossi does, the only reason Burgess would leave Rossi is if Ducati wouldn't sign the aussie. If the rumor is true that Stoners mechanics have been given notice to find other employment next year, I believe that says a lot about where Burgess is headed. Until Rossi and Burgess make an announcement, here's to the game!

Yes, Rossi would ride for tobacco money. In fact, it is only the Marlboro sponsorship that can make the Rossi-to-Ducati deal happen. That doesn't mean that Fiat might come along for the ride as well, but Marlboro will be behind the team.