“I've enjoyed every minute of it”, those were the words of Jerry Burgess, reflecting on his record-breaking MotoGP partnership with Valentino Rossi, which will come to a surprise end after Sunday's Valencia season finale.
Burgess and Rossi have won seven world championships since the start of the Italian's premier-class career in 2000, before which Burgess took six titles with Mick Doohan and Wayne Gardner.
However Rossi has opted to replace the 60-year-old Australian for what looks like one final roll of the dice in his quest to get on terms with Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in 2014, the last year of Rossi's Yamaha contract.
“14 years and 80 odd Grand Prix wins, which is basically five a year, those figures are good, and what we've done has been terrific. I've enjoyed every minute of it,” said Burgess, avoiding any public bitterness despite admitting he had been 'blindsided' by the decision.
“Obviously I was always getting closer to the end of my career and was making determinations on an exit policy based on Valentino's competitive and his time in MotoGP.
“As Valentino said, I was constantly moving the goalposts in terms of commitment [whether to stay beyond 2014] but I'm comfortable with everything and I've got a good set-up around me at home so I'm happy in that area.
“I don't know if there was a beginning of the end, but I know that the Ducati years were difficult for Valentino and that we weren't able to achieve the success that we had expected.
“Coming back to Yamaha has been fantastic and with Valentino having a year on the bike, and the understanding and familiarisation with the bike this year, will put Valentino in a stronger position to start next year.
“I can't think of a bad moment off hand and it's been a very good 14 years, but if I was to pick a bad moment the outcome of cleaning the grid in Qatar [which saw Rossi penalised with a back of grid start] was probably a moment that perhaps we got carried away a little bit!”