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Six of the Best: Jeremy Burgess inspired MotoGP wins

Six of the best 500cc/MotoGP race wins inspired by crew chief Jeremy Burgess, set to retire after splitting from Valentino Rossi.
Racing can appear a ruthless business at times - as illustrated at the Valencia MotoGP finale when Jeremy Burgess was shown the door after a record 80 wins while working as crew chief for Valentino Rossi.

As well as the seven titles with Rossi, Burgess - who entered grand prix racing in 1980 - also contributed to world championship honours for Freddie Spencer, Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan (five).

To pay tribute to the Australian's mechanical genius we have chosen six of arguably the finest victories he inspired during a glittering grand prix career...

1988, Spa-Francorchamps - Reversing Gardner's fortunes
It wasn't an altogether strange phenomenon for the Honda Racing Corporation to get carried away with their own success in the eighties and early nineties. 1988 was a case in point. Wayne Gardner had won his first world championship the year before, yet his new NSR 500 sported few of the reliable components that took him to the crown.

The new model was lowered in a bid to improve handling while the engine had around 1,000 more revs. And in Burgess' own words the reigning world champion “got a little bit too much of an engineering brain on him, and decided he was going to reinvent the motorcycle.” The result was a bike that tried to throw Gardner off at every opportunity.

The Australian started the year strongly, narrowly missing out on wins to Kevin Schwantz, Eddie Lawson and Kevin Magee in the first three races, but when he finished 28 seconds behind the winner in Jerez, then 15 back at Monza cracks began to appear.

Personnel changes and lack of testing time were just some of the issues that irked Australia's first 500cc champion. “It's hard to keep it in line and stop it from shaking. They [Honda] need to be prepared to listen more,” he told the media midway through the season.

Luckily crew chief Burgess was listening and took matters into his own hands. “There's not a day gone by that I don't look at something on the bike and wonder if it couldn't be made better,” he told Michael Scott at the time. And make it better he did. Courtesy of hacking and welding the '88 frame into a different shape, Gardner began to pick up some momentum.

He crashed out when fighting for the lead at the Salzburgring but then won three races in a row, halving Lawson's lead in the championship from 40 to 20 points. The finest of these was undoubtedly his imperious ride through the puddles at a soaking wet Spa-Francorchamps. Of all places to ride an ill-handling NSR, this was surely the most daunting.

Tagged as: burgess

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jeremy Burgess, Jerez MotoGP Test March 2013
Burgess, Australian MotoGP 2015
Doohan, Burgess, Australian Moto3 2015
Doohan and Burgess, Australian MotoGP 2015
Burgess, Australian MotoGP 2014
Burgess, Australian MotoGP 2014
Burgess, Australian MotoGP 2014
Rossi and Burgess, MotoGP race, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess and Rossi on the grid for final time, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess on the grid for final time, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess and Rossi on the grid for final time, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Rossi, Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Rossi, Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013, Valencia MotoGP 2013
Burgess, Valencia MotoGP 2013

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November 28, 2013 3:28 PM

JB was only going to do one more year anyway. This is Valentino's last chance so had to do this as a desperate measure !! Do you honestly think he didn't have serious worries over it? It would not have been an easy decision to make.

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