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MotoGP Court of Appeal Upholds Ducati Victory in Qatar; “Tire Cooling” Device Declared Legal

The following press release from the FIM addresses the legality of an air scoop placed in front of the rear tire on the Ducati MotoGP machines raced in Qatar by Andrea Dovizioso (the winner of the race), Danilo Petrucci (6th place finisher) and Jack Miller (DNF). The MotoGP Court of Appeal has ruled the device legal, upholding an earlier decision by the MotoGP Stewards. As a result, Dovizioso retains his victory and Petrucci his 6th place finish. There is an additional opportunity to appeal this decision to the Court of Artibration of Sport within 5 days of today’s decision. Round 2 of the MotoGP championship will be held this weekend in Argentina.

Here is the FIM press release:

Four factories lodged protests against Ducati aero after the Qatar GP and a decision has been made ahead of the Argentina GP

During the MotoGP™ race at the season opener in Qatar on 10 March 2019, technical protests concerning the use of a device on Ducati machines were lodged with the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards by Team Suzuki Ecstar against #43 Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), by Repsol Honda Team against #4 Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati), and by Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini against #9 Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati). 

The protesting teams considered that the device was primarily an aerodynamic device and therefore not compliant with the MotoGP technical regulations. After a hearing, the four protests were rejected.

The same four teams then lodged appeals against the MotoGP™ Stewards’ decision to the MotoGP™ Appeal Stewards and a further hearing was conducted. The MotoGP™ Appeal Stewards determined that further technical evaluation was required and that this was not possible under the circumstances. They, therefore, decided to refer the matter to the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal in accordance with Art. of the applicable Regulations.

 Following a hearing in Mies on Friday 22 March, the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal handed down its decision today 26 March and the parties (the four appellants, Ducati and the FIM) have been duly notified.

On these grounds, the MotoGP™ Court of Appeal rules that:

The appeals filed by Team Aprilia, Team Suzuki, Team Honda and Team KTM are admissible.

The provisional race results are confirmed and are declared as final.

The request to declare the Device illegal and ban its use in future races is rejected. An appeal against this decision may be lodged before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne Switzerland within 5 days pursuant to Article 3.9 of the 2019 FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.  

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  1. mickey says:

    Saw an interview where Ducati said their findings were a decrease in tire temperature of 7 degrees using the ” cooling device”

    • LIM says:

      Honda saw a 5% increase in swing arm rigidity with their own swingarm device.

      • TimC says:

        Saw that, LOL

        • mickey says:

          Thursday Honda submitted their swingarm device as a aero device and it was deemed illegal. They submitted the same thing again Friday as a strengthening device for the swingarm and it was approved.

          Silly rule book and its interpretations.

  2. LIM says:

    Honda had initially, before Ducati, submitted the swing arm scoop as an aerodynamic device, and it was rejected by the governing body.

    Ducati then submitted it as a tyre cooling device, and it was approved.

    Now Honda is resubmitting its own device, this time telling the rulemakers that it’s intention is to increase the stiffness of the swing arm itself. LOL

    This is something which is allowed within the rules.

    Guess Honda just want to highlight the loopholes within the rules, and how some teams are exploiting it for their own advantage.

  3. LIM says:

    Suzuki MotoGP boss comment on the issue.

    Interesting to note, Ducati confessed that the part generate down force.

    But the rule says that, if your intention is to cool the tyre, then it’s fine, even if it does generate down force. LOL

    “I think at the end that the situation we ended up in was more of a legal situation about the wording rather than judging the technical part itself. What has happened is that it’s clear that the part generates downforce. That’s been proven by our calculations, from all four manufacturers, and during the hearing even Ducati said that. But according to the regulations it depends on the intention you have, and they said that their intention was to cool the tyre and not to take advantage of the downforce.”

    “The way the rule is written, the main intention is to cool the tyre and if their intention was to do that and not generate downforce, it doesn’t matter if it does generate downforce or not. You can imagine that when you go to the court of appeals and into the legal field, you go down a different road, and right now we’re still waiting on the motivation for the court’s decision – we only have the decision and my thoughts are based on what we discussed while there.”

  4. Ricardo says:

    The big manufacturers need to get to work and start innovating more as Ducati is doing. Complaining does not promote competitiveness and innovation.

    • Jan says:

      Exactly. The other mfgs needs to smarten up and start innovating more ways to bullshit like Ducati does.
      Now everyone knows that DORNA’s technical director is hopelessly clueless.
      This opens up a whole new avenue of loophole exploitation.
      BS explanation is all you need to legally cheat.

  5. TF says:

    If the decision bothers you, click here:

  6. LIM says:

    It was a night race in the desert. Temperature was below 20C. No further tyre cooling needed.

    In fact, the opposite is true – tyre needs heat to perform optimally. Crappy excuse by Ducati and Dorna is backing it.

    • MonsterJ says:

      Maybe the additional down force provided by the swinger-wing increased tire loading to raise tire temps in the cooler weather? I re-watched some of the race and didn’t see where they mentioned the front/rear tire combo used by the riders. Curious to see if Dovi, Petrux, and Miller were running the same rear.

      • LIM says:

        You said it, ‘additional down force’. That’s what the protest was about.

        If I’m not mistaken, the optimal racing temperature is about 120C, for the rear tyre. Anyway, it’s hot enough to blister and melt the rear tyre compound. No swingarm spoiler can generate that kind of thermal force.

        • MonsterJ says:

          The rest of the field is obviously getting heat in the tire w/o the swing arm spoiler. My guess is they were wanting to run a harder compound than they would normally select given the cooler temps. The additional down force would put more heat into the tire and give them a traction advantage with a tire that would last longer in those given conditions. I never could find what compounds the Ducatis used for the race to compare with the rest of the field.

          One disclaimer – I’m just regular person who has really enjoyed watching MotoGP for the last 25ish years. I’m no expert on tire selection!

          • Jeremy says:

            “One disclaimer – I’m just regular person who has really enjoyed watching MotoGP for the last 25ish years. I’m no expert on tire selection!”

            Nonsense! This is the internet. We are ALL experts.

          • LIM says:

            Jeremy – LOL

  7. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    Sure seems like little Ducati (in comparison to most) is always innovating and usually being successful wit it, then the larger manufacturers complain it is an unfair advantage. Maybe the more major manufacturers need to start to think outside the box too. Not sure about Aprilia’s previous attempt on this as I was unaware of that. I’m sure they will ALL jump on it and come out with their own versions now. I would think, that a somewhat cooler tire would actually turn out to be a safety thing under certain racing conditions.

  8. Auphliam says:

    MotoGP last year: No wings or devices to aid in airflow will be permitted protruding from the fairing.

    Competitors: But the Ducati has all kinds of wings on it

    Governing body: Those are fine. We meant “other” kinds of wings

    MotoGP this year: No, you’re not allowed to add any kind of device for cooling the tires

    Competitors: But Ducati has a wing specifically for cooling the tire

    Governing body: Those are fine, we meant “other” kinds of devices

    Noticing a trend yet?

  9. Mikey says:

    Yep, coming soon to a street bike near you.

    Bad enough we’re getting those plate holders humping the rear tire and now this….

  10. TimC says:

    First – Hey Dirck, surely you’ve noticed by now that “Reply” function isn’t working?

    Next – for Curly – yep, Aprilia was the main protester specifically because a similar device on their bike was ruled unusable early on, so they stopped development, and were quite shocked when Ducati showed up with it and it was allowed.

  11. Curly says:

    So now all the manufacturers can use the device and they should start appearing in 3,2,1.

  12. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    OH NO MR. BILL, – – – it’s the start of another cold war ! Always said it was silly to put exhaust stuff under oil sumps. Never fear, this again will improve the technology of common street bikes. Throw out all the rules. Where’s the fun without innovation ?

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