The nine-time Champion’s quest for a tenth title is as strong as ever, as he re-invents himself once more for fresh ideas and more success
On Thursday evening at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, sensational changes were announced by Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) with regards to his team structure for 2020. The nine-time MotoGP™ World Champion is still looking to fight for a tenth crown and will change his Crew Chief for next season, replacing Silvano Galbusera with Nicolo Bulega’s (SKY Racing Team VR46) Crew Chief from this season, David Muñoz.
Muñoz worked with Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) last season during his title-clinching Moto2™ campaign and has been a driving force behind Bulega’s return to good form in 2019. Rossi, who will be 41 when the racing season starts next year, will continue to reinvent himself in a quest to go for a tenth title in the premier class. Galbusera arrived in Rossi’s corner in 2014, but ‘The Doctor’ is prescribing himself a fresh change in his quest of a resurgence to the front of the MotoGP™ field.
Speaking the press conference, Rossi confirmed the change, saying: “Yes, it is true. For next year I will change my chief mechanic. After Misano, we speak together with Silvano because we want to try and do something to be stronger. It was a different factor all together, as Silvano wants to continue working for Yamaha but with less stress and less days out of Italy. Also, at the same time, Yamaha want to make the test team stronger for next year, to improve the work in Europe.”
Galbusera came to replace Jeremy Burgess as Rossi’s Crew Chief in 2014 and the two have taken nine wins together in the six seasons they have worked together.
Continuing, Rossi stated some surprise at the change: “Sincerely, I didn’t expect at the beginning, but we speak together and decide that Silvano will go to the test team and I will have another chief mechanic. He is coming from our team in Moto2™. His name is David (Muñoz) and he worked together with ‘Pecco’ last year and won the championship, and with Nicolo this year. I am excited and it is new experience, he doesn’t have any experience with MotoGP™. He is very young and has good ideas and, in the end, everyone is happy. Silvano is also happy to stay in the test team, so we will try, and see if we can become stronger.”
Looking to 2020, the 40-year-old Italian is optimistic and excited about his new Crew Chief: “His was the first name because I know him very well, I follow the team well. Last year, he did a very good job with Pecco. I liked the way that he managed the end of the season when he had a lot of pressure and Pecco was a little bit nervous of losing the championship with Oliveira, I liked how he is quiet and the way he managed the situation. I asked him. Unfortunately, something negative for our team because he’s very important for our team, but it’s something to try, so we shall see.”
The news comes as the PTT Thailand Grand Prix is less than 24 hours from beginning, an event that Rossi was strong at in 2018, leading laps during the race after a front row start, before finishing a solid fourth. Will ‘The Doctor’ be able to put together another strong weekend for the second-ever MotoGP™ race at the Chang International Circuit?