Valentino Rossi’s new crew chief Silvano Galbusera believes the Doctor can win his eighth MotoGP World Championship this season.
The former 250 and 500cc rider has replaced Jeremy Burgess after Rossi’s successful 14 year affiliation with the Australian came to an end last November, as Rossi hopes to get himself back on the top step of the podium on a more regular basis in 2014.
Galbusera, who worked briefly with Rossi back in 2010 when the Italian rode the Yamaha R1 Superbike at Brno during his recovery from a broken leg, believes that the Doctor is still in the height of his powers, and more than capable of winning the 2014 MotoGP World Championship with the right bike below him.
In an interview with German website Speedweek, the Italian crew-chief explains how he and Rossi first came into contact,as well as discussing his thoughts and feelings ahead of the new season and what has impressed him with the Doctor most so far.
“Valentino and I first worked together in Misano in 2010,” said Galbusera. “However, it was then only a few hours. He rode the bike (the R1) without any modifications. Our first important meeting was held in Brno. He asked me a lot about the tuning of the bikes and strategy. I was surprised because he knew a lot more about superbikes than I thought. He knew the different tyres and the lap times of Biaggi. He didn’t want to just test, but he wanted to understand the bike one hundred percent.
“He gave me some information that we even considered at the next race! I told him the whole story of our bikes and he has memorised everything. It was as if he had already ridden the bike for two years.”
When asked about the initial feelings after the first two tests, which included Rossi finishing second only to reigning World Champion Marc Marquez in Malaysia, Galbusera said the tests hadn’t been long enough for wholesale change, but they have honed in on the finer details of the M1. “The Valencia test was very short, after the test we went to Japan to set plans, therefore there wasn’t much time for information to be exchanged with Vale.
“In Sepang we had the first real test, the level was very high and Valentino surprised me. His details are very precise and he notices every little change, he’s very focused. We have made a big step forward, but we are only at the beginning. The setting needs to be improved in the next tests.”
One of the problems that Rossi faced last year during his return with Yamaha was corner entry, especially on the softer tyres. Galbusera explained that he and Rossi worked hard in Malaysia to find a solution, and think they are almost there.
“In Sepang we tried to understand the problem and the behaviour of the bike,” said Galbusera. “We have found a solution, but we are not satisfied one hundred percent yet. After the test, the data is analysed and we are working on. It is clear that we need to use these tyres, so it is important to adapt the bike to it.”
After being surprised by the efforts of Rossi, Galbusera was asked if he thought Rossi could win the title this year.
“Yes, why not?” replied Galbusera. “I believe in his potential. He can do it if I provide him a machine that allows him fight with the other riders. The level is extremely high and each tiny difference has a big impact on the lap time.”
Galbusera has previously worked with the Yamaha Superbike team, working firstly with Cal Crutchlow then with Marco Melandri, meaning the Italian knows the way in which the Japanese firm work, even if the MotoGP operation is more intense than the now non-existent World Superbike project.
“I know the high quality work of Yamaha and I already knew some Japanese engineers,” revealed Galbusera. “It is perhaps still too early to tell, but we give our information further and we will respond quickly. The level is even higher in the MotoGP class, this is evident everywhere.”