MotoGP

Valentino Rossi swaps crew chief, will wait on 2021 MotoGP decision

Valentino Rossi makes a significant change to his personal team within the Yamaha MotoGP fold with a swap of crew chief for 2020 MotoGP

Valentino Rossi has made a significant change to his personal team within the Yamaha MotoGP outfit after hiring Davide Munoz as crew chief to replace Silvano Galbusera for the 2020 MotoGP season.

Rossi has worked with Galbusera since 2014 when he was drafted in to replace Jerry Burgess who, despite being considered the mastermind behind Rossi’s seven premier class titles, was dropped in the wake of the Italian’s difficult stint at Ducati and indifferent results on his return to Yamaha.

Though Rossi’s form took an upturn under Galbusera with a trio of runners-up spots between 2014 and 2016, they have not won a race together since the 2017 Dutch MotoGP at Assen, while Rossi has recorded just a pair of podiums in 2019.

With Rossi facing the possibility of ending the year as only third best Yamaha rider for the first time in his career (Fabio Quartararo is just 14 points adrift) a change will come in his backroom staff in Munoz’s appointment.

Though Rossi cites Galbusera’s desire to spend more time in Europe – prompting a move to Yamaha’s European MotoGP test team set up – he admits the pair have been ‘stuck’ with regards to how to get more performance from the Yamaha M1.

Who is Valentino Rossi's new crew chief for 2020?

Munoz comes into the fold from Rossi’s VR46 Moto2 effort, where he oversaw Pecco Bagnaia’s 2018 title run, but does so having never worked in MotoGP itself.

“I will have another chief mechanic that is coming from our team in Moto2. His name is Davide [Munoz], last year he worked with Pecco and he won the championship and this year he works with Bulega so I am excited.

“It is a new experience and he doesn’t have any experience with the MotoGP bike, but he is very young and has good ideas. In the end everybody is happy and Silvano is good, he is happy to stay in the test team, so we will try and see if we can become stronger.”

“Unfortunately ,we are a little bit stuck and together also with Silvano and Yamaha we tried to understand the way to improve,” he said. “I know him [Munoz] very well and I followed the team very well and last year he did a very good job with Pecco.

2020 MotoGP results to decide Valentino Rossi’s future as Quartararo looms

Galbusera’s exit comes as Yamaha itself restructures its MotoGP effort in a dual attempt to improve its fortunes on track and entice Rossi to stay involved beyond his current 2020 MotoGP contract.

Last month, Kouichi Tsuji – Yamaha Motor Racing President – stepped down as part of a wider move to spur Yamaha’s fortunes, which have seen it struggle to mount a consistent threat to Honda and Ducati in recent seasons.

With Rossi quizzed again on his plans beyond 2020, he reiterated it will depend on whether Yamaha can give him the M1 he wants in order to fight for wins again. 

“I have the contract for next year and for the future it depends very much on the results of next year.”

Meanwhile, Quartararo moved closer into the Yamaha fold by officially becoming a Monster-backed athlete. Bringing him into line with his counterparts Rossi, Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli, the move is expected to prelude a deal that will see him shift from his current Petronas SRT contract to a Yamaha factory one. 

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