Valentino Rossi & Jeremy Burgess in 2011?

VR46 Contract News

Things are shaping up for the 2011 MotoGP year, with the biggest news being the Valentino Rossi and Ducati marriage, one that will create an all-Italian racing family.

Rossi, whose Fiat Yamaha contract is up at the end of the year, officially made his announcement after the Czech Republic in Brno, in which he finished fifth. He will take Casey Stoner’s spot on the Ducati Marlboro Team; the Australian motorcycle racer made his announcement earlier in the season that he’s moving to the factory Honda team.

Ben Spies, who rides for the satellite Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, is expected to graduate from his year on a Satellite team and take Rossi’s spot on the factory team next to Jorge Lorenzo. Under MotoGP regulations, racers must compete for a year on a satellite team before they can move to a factory team. Spies, who is in his debut year in MotoGP, won the World Superbike Championship last year during his rookie year.

But now the question is, where will chief engineer Jeremy Burgess go? The 57-year-old Australian has been united with Rossi since the Italian’s debut year in the premier class with Honda in 2000 (500cc). The two have never parted, and won seven world titles together.

Together, the two took second in the championship in 2000, then won three consecutive titles on the Honda, and followed those titles up with two more the following years with Yamaha, making for five consecutive titles.

Rossi, who made his switch to Yamaha in 2004, and Burgess helped Yamaha develop championship-winning machines. Burgess has also garnered a championship with Wayne Gardner, and five with Mike Doohan, both on Honda.

Burgess, who almost retired after his years with Doohan due to seeing too many accidents, now has a few months to decide on what he will do. Will he follow Rossi, carrying the relationship of winning ways over to Ducati?

Or will he take on yet another rookie at Yamaha, and help Spies acheive worldwide GP success?  And there’s always retirement. Whatever he chooses, it’s will definitely garner much attention, and be another highlight to the shaping of the 2011 MotoGP season.