Valentino Rossi and Ducati have poached the legendary Australian crew chief Jeremy Burgess from Yamaha in a bid to win a MotoGP title with a third manufacturer.
Rossi and Burgess are the most successful pairing in the MotoGP with seven world championships together over the past 11 seasons.
The Italian, who finished third behind winner Casey Stoner in the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, has insisted Ducati hire Adelaide-based Burgess to supervise his race program in search of an eighth world crown in 2011.
Rossi has never raced in MotoGP without kingmaker Burgess whose credits include world championships with Aussie greats Wayne Gardner and Mick Doohan.
"Jerry stays with me until I retire," Rossi said when asked about the prospect of racing without his trusted wingman.
Burgess left Honda to join Rossi at Yamaha in 2004 and will now work to reinvigorate Ducati, who have not won a title since 2007 with Casey Stoner.
"I've spoken to Ducati and I think it is all going to work out fairly well," Burgess said of his impending switch to Italy's famous red team.