FIAT YAMAHA crew chief Jeremy Burgess has said it's not up to him to decide who, if anyone, should replace Valentino Rossi, after the Italian broke his shine bone at Mugello in Saturday practice.
Speaking to GPone.com, Burgess said 'replacing' Rossi would be impossible, as no one else out there comes close to the flambouyant Italian's legendary status:
"I have no idea. That is something involving the contracts. We had Mick Doohan in this situation some years ago and we never replaced the rider. You can't replace Valentino, you can put another rider on the bike but that is not replacing him," said Burgess. "It is something above my level and needs to be discussed between Dorna, the sponsors and Yamaha. Not me. I'm here only as a worker."
When asked about Rossi's post-operation condition, the Australian replied:
"It seems like he had a fairly good night and he telephoned Uccio this morning. He was in good spirits and he was joking about having the bikes ready. I'll call him this afternoon and I'm sure he will watch the race. Everyone said last night that he was in good spirits, so we will just have to wait for him to return."
And in typical straight-talking Aussie style, Burgess gave his opinion as to why Valentino crashed:
"Well he fell off, and every time you fall off a motorcycle there is some risk of injury. In this case he sustained an injury to the leg.
"Maybe there was a little bit lower temperature, but it can happen. You could fall off and get back on and nobody would be talking about this. But because it is Valentino and because he will miss some races, it is a much bigger deal."
Who, if anyone, would you put in Rossi's place?