The man who has been the technical mastermind behind several MotoGP™ World Champions, Jeremy Burgess, says that Marc Marquez is no certainty to win this Sunday’s Pramac Generac Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 2019 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.
The veteran crew chief should know, after having tasted success with three World Champions – Australians Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan in the 500cc class and Valentino Rossi, who won the 500cc title in 2000 and followed it with six MotoGP™ crowns.
Burgess said that while he would like to see Rossi return to winning form, he thinks that Marquez will be hard to beat.
“The heart says Valentino but my head says Marquez,” Burgess told motogp.com.au. “Marc has never had a lot of luck at Phillip Island. He had extreme luck one year but bad luck last year, for instance.”
At the same time, Burgess has been impressed with the speed that Australian Jack Miller has shown in recent races.
“He has done some very exciting things this year and some of those might have slipped under the radar a bit,” Burgess said.
“He has been running at the front, and even if he does select the wrong tyre on occasion, he is actually learning the options why he has to go for the other tyre. It is all part of the learning process.”
Burgess has a unique insight of MotoGP™, having seen his riders win titles with Honda and Yamaha, after Rossi controversially switched brands to the latter for 2004. The Italian legend went on to win four MotoGP™ titles with the make, before switching unsuccessfully to Ducati in 2011 – taking Burgess with him.
“He has perhaps hung around a little bit too long,” Burgess says of Rossi.
“The concerning thing is, and the sad thing for me is, he is finishing about where he qualifies. We never used to worry if he qualified 10th a few years ago, we knew he would pick up four or five spots, and be on the podium or challenging for the podium. Whether that is another step down the slippery slope or not, who knows?”
Marquez continues to impress the veteran engineer, particularly since Honda’s other riders have not been close to him in the race.
“It’s exciting to watch, and I am not convinced that the Honda is necessarily the best bike out there,” Burgess says.
“Look at the ability of the other Honda riders; Cal Crutchlow for example; I think that he is capable of running a bit closer to the front than he has been."