I have to admit that when I found out what Valentino Rossi is cooking up, I could only exclaim, “Incredible, he’s done it again!” Every time Rossi realizes he is in a situation with no solution, he doesn’t hesitate to make a drastic change. Remember when he left Honda after the 2003 season—and three consecutive world championships—to join Yamaha? Or a decade later when he fired crew chief Jerry Burgess, the veteran Australian with whom he won all his premier-class titles?
Rossi shows no mercy when results are at stake. He races to win, and if he isn’t winning he doesn’t enjoy racing. He will do anything and everything to get back to winning. Rossi’s detractors say he leaves plenty of bodies in his wake. This may be true, but in Rossi’s defense I recall that he also doesn’t hesitate to administer the most radical medicine to himself.
Why do you think Rossi created the VR46 Riders Academy? He most certainly didn’t do it for altruistic reasons. At a point, he realized that to maintain his momentum, he needed to be surrounded by youthful riders who would help him understand the mentality of his younger rivals and their newer riding styles. How many times has Rossi changed his way of riding? You merely have to look through photos over the 19 years he has raced in the top class to witness his amazing metamorphosis. No, Rossi has never hesitated to make a change if it will help him remain competitive. And now we are in for another radical move.
Rossi has made an offer to Ramon Forcada, Maverick Viñales’ crew chief and the person who guided Jorge Lorenzo’s successes at Yamaha. This is not the first time Rossi has attempted to recruit the Catalan technician. He also tried at the end of 2016, when Lorenzo left Yamaha for Ducati. Forcada rejected Rossi’s offer, preferring to stay with Viñales. Now, with the expected Viñales and Forcada breakup, Rossi has returned.
Where does this leave Silvano Galbusera, Rossi’s current crew chief and the one he signed when he discarded Burgess? This is not yet known, but it is further proof that marriages in racing are rarely eternal.
Rossi has confirmed he will race two more years in MotoGP. Can you imagine him not being competitive for two seasons? I can’t, and neither can he. This situation will evolve over the next few weeks, but what is certain is that Valentino Rossi’s third revolution is in progress.