Why Ducati's new part has enraged its MotoGP rivals

While the protest against Ducati at the Qatar Grand Prix was quickly dimissed, it's easy to see why its MotoGP rivals are appealing the decision.

Why Ducati's new part has enraged its MotoGP rivals

The case centres around a winglet on the bottom of the Ducati, in front of the rear tyre, that was trialled by factory rider Danilo Petrucci and then used by Petrucci, his victorious team-mate Andrea Dovizioso and Pramac's Jack Miller in the Losail race.

Ducati has defended the part's legality as a method of cooling the tyre, but the protesting teams have a lot of reasons to argue that the piece creates downforce - which would make it illegal under the rules designed to control the proliferation of winglets in recent seasons.

The main driving force of the complaint was Massimo Rivola, newly appointed as Aprilia's racing CEO and a man with more than 20 years of experience in the Formula 1 paddock; he worked for Minardi and Toro Rosso before landing at Ferrari.

At the beginning of March, some days before the start of the season, MotoGP technical director Danny Aldridge sent a note to the teams covering the use of add-ons such as the one Ducati ran in Qatar.

In the previous version of the regulations it was clear that such a deflector could only be used in wet races, as its main function was to evacuate water from around the tyre in order to guarantee rider safety.

The new rules add-on opened the door to its use in dry races, after Ducati warned that in that case such a piece could be used to cool the rear tyre.

In the eyes of the other manufacturers (Yamaha decided to stay out of this, as it used a similar device in the wet race at Valencia last year) it is more than clear that the winglet has an aerodynamic benefit.

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing in Valencia

Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing running the winglet in Valencia

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

These concerns were expressed to Race Direction with the support of an extensive technical file prepared by Rivola, which strongly emphasised the downforce created by Ducati's part.

"Some weeks ago, Ducati went to the technical director with an appendix for the rear swingarm and a cover for the front tyre," explained Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio.

"It contended that its main function was to decrease the temperature of the rear tyre.

"The technical director gave his approbation and set some rules for the teams on March 4."

Before submitting a formal complaint, as established by the protocol (which means after the start of the race), Rivola and Brivio got in contact with Ducati's general director Gigi Dall'Igna to let him know that in the event that one of his bikes ran the deflector, they were going to submit a protest.

And they did it fully aware that the ambiguity of the regulations would make the stewards dismiss the complaint in first instance, and convinced that this case would be decided by the appeal of the motorcycle racing's governing body the FIM - which is what will indeed happen.

"Ducati supplied the racing bikes of its three riders with new appendixes, and that provoked us to complain," Brivio added. "We did it because we wanted to clarify the situation once and for all."

For Aprilia, Suzuki, Honda and KTM, the reasons Ducati has given for its new part aren't just false - they are also full of contradictions.

They are sceptical about Ducati's insistence that the main function of the deflector was for tyre cooling because track temperature didn't reach 25°C in Qatar so the main challenge was to sufficiently warm the tyres rather than to keep them cool.

And given that, just as in F1, minimising excess weight is vital on a MotoGP bike, they're also convinced that the part has to have a substantial enough performance benefit to be worth the extra weight it adds.

A verdict from the FIM is expected within days.

Jack Miller, Pramac Racing

Jack Miller, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / LAT Images

shares
comments
Miller details bizarre Qatar seat debacle

Previous article

Miller details bizarre Qatar seat debacle

Next article

Rins admits Qatar MotoGP battles made him "very angry"

Rins admits Qatar MotoGP battles made him "very angry"
Load comments
Why Suzuki desperately needs to find Brivio's MotoGP replacement Prime

Why Suzuki desperately needs to find Brivio's MotoGP replacement

OPINION: While Shinichi Sahara insists that Suzuki does not need a team manager following the departure of Davide Brivio, the team's performance in the early part of the 2021 MotoGP season and the sentiment of the staff suggests the opposite

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches Prime

How KTM has ended up with an embarrassment of MotoGP riches

Forming a ladder all the way from Red Bull Rookies Cup to MotoGP, KTM has created a steady stream of top talents in grand prix racing delivering the Austrian marque with the success expected of the brand. Here's how it has gone about it.

MotoGP
Jul 28, 2021
Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant Prime

Why MotoGP will miss its gentle giant

Danilo Petrucci’s days in MotoGP appear numbered, as KTM looks to completely reshuffle the Tech3 team for 2022. Though the Italian's 2021 season so far hasn’t been standout, the giant Italian covertly became a top runner in MotoGP across the last decade and brought with him a personality that world sport sorely needs more of

MotoGP
Jul 22, 2021
Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet Prime

Why Mir's MotoGP title defence can't be written off yet

Joan Mir’s defence of his MotoGP title has had an underwhelming start as Suzuki didn’t progress its championship-winning GSX-RR as much as its rivals did with their bikes over the winter. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Mir lays out why his title defence has been stalled so far and why he’s confident title number two is still within reach

MotoGP
Jul 12, 2021
How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed Prime

How Quartararo became the MotoGP leader Yamaha needed

It's been six years since Jorge Lorenzo gave Yamaha its last MotoGP title in 2015. Since his departure at the end of 2016, Yamaha's form has been inconsistent but it has at last found a new talisman to return it to the top spot in the form of a precociously talented Frenchman who currently leads the standings.

MotoGP
Jul 6, 2021
Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties Prime

Why the Vinales/Yamaha MotoGP divorce satisfies both parties

On Monday, Yamaha announced it will part ways with Maverick Vinales at the end of the 2021 season - a move requested by the rider. As the already strained relationship between both parties in MotoGP hit rock bottom in recent weeks, this divorce - as Oriol Puigdemont writes - is good for both Yamaha and Vinales for a number of reasons

MotoGP
Jun 28, 2021
The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption Prime

The unexpected Rossi/Ducati MotoGP sequel offering redemption

A decade after first linking up with Ducati in what turned out to be an ill-fated period in his MotoGP career, Valentino Rossi has joined forces with the Italian marque once more - this time as a team owner. And the VR46/Ducati tie-up beginning in 2022 has the potential to right the wrongs of Rossi and Ducati's nadir of 2011/2012.

MotoGP
Jun 24, 2021
Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi Prime

Why Yamaha is about to risk losing Valentino Rossi

With Valentino Rossi’s next career move imminent in MotoGP, it is set to have wide-reaching influences on a number of riders and teams on the grid. But one of the biggest impacts will be felt at Yamaha, with its pivotal role in the saga set to see it lose its appointment with ‘The Doctor’

MotoGP
Jun 22, 2021