Rossi’s Rookie Crew Chief Gets The First Race Walk of Shame

Say what? Dean Adams


If the rumors are true and Valentino Rossi’s engine was not stopped by a bad sensor that threw a red-light, but that the engine-tied-up-and-threw-the-red-light-just-before-it-locked-up, then a couple of things come to mind.

1. It’s not the way you want your first race as a crewchief to go, obviously. Rossi hired former VR46 alumni David Munoz to be his crewchief for 2020. Before last Sunday Munoz had zero experience with a MotoGP engine in a race environment. The upside of bringing in someone very new is they can bring with them a fresh approach to old problems. The downside is something probably very bad happened inside that engine and Yamaha might be wondering if Munoz’s rookie status in MotoGP was/is a factor.

2. How many of Rossi’s 2020 engines were built with the same components as the engine that failed? This will be the next big question that Yamaha and the team ask themselves. If the engines are of the same spec AND are sealed, that will mean there is no easy fix if the engines are built with suspect bad parts.

It’s not unusual for Rossi to use a slightly different engine configuration than other Yamaha riders. If, as he has in the past, VR46 is using an engine configuration with a significantly heavier or lighter crankshaft, for example, to make the engine rev quicker or turn in easier, then that will be analyzed to see if it is a factor in the engine failure.

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