One of the worst kept secrets in MotoGP of recent times is related to Valentino Rossi changing his riding style.
His ex-engineer, The legendary Jerry Burgess, Claimed to have pleaded with him during his time on the Ducati, and return to Yamaha, to change it to suit the new bikes and, more importantly, the tyres. According to Jerry, Valentino refused to do this, preferring to change the bike around his own style.
As we now know, Rossi binned Burgess off at the end of 2013. Then, just a couple of months later at a Sepang test, Vale announced he’d made the decision to adjust his riding style to mimic the latest young guns. For Rossi, the important bit was being seen to make this decision himself.
A legend knows exactly how to keep his shiny side untarnished, and although Burgess’s original advice has clearly paid dividends towards the Italian’s results, it’s Rossi who will get all the credit. Yet, the adjustment he made was for the Bridgestones. His rivals such as Marquez have never known any other MotoGP tyres, and their styles have developed along with them.
Specifically, the stupidly grippy Bridgestone front hoop that allows shocking liberties to be taken. It’s no wonder Rossi had to adapt, but, we’re on the eve of another change. Next year Michelin take up the mantle, and thus far in testing racers have been losing the front. A lot. It could be Rossi will have to change again, and here he holds a big advantage over the rest of the field having raced Michelins for years.
Reverting back to an older style will be easier for him most likely, than Marquez having to adapt as Marc will lose perhaps his biggest advantage, which is corner entry. No wonder old man Rossi wants to stick about a bit longer !