Aprilia: A wing creates downforce...

'The [FIM] gave its OK looking at the part and saying, 'if you say it's for cooling the tyre, then I think it's OK'. I think we need to raise the level' - Massimo Rivola, Aprilia.
Aprilia: A wing creates downforce...

As the wait continues for a verdict from the MotoGP Court of Appeal regarding Ducati's swingarm spoiler used in Qatar, Aprilia has further explained its opposition to the device.

The factory joined Honda, Suzuki and KTM in filing the initial (rejected) protest against the Ducati part, subsequently elevated to the Court of Appeal.

Aprilia are adamant the part should not be allowed since they were previously told a device in that area (which is not covered by the fairing 'Aero Body' rules) could only be used for water deflection and they are certain it creates downforce.

"We were clearly told that a device fitted in that area should not have an aerodynamic purpose, and would have been taken off if it was dry. So we stopped thinking about anything in that area," technical director Romano Albesiano said at the weekend's Aprilia All Stars event.

"We were really surprised that a wing fitted in that area was allowed."

After the final pre-season test in Qatar new guidelines were issued to the teams, but Albesiano said these still excluded downforce parts mounted on the swingarm.

"It was clearly said that a device fitted in that location should not be designed to create downforce. Downforce is one of the aerodynamic effects mentioned, and the purpose of downforce is grip. A wing creates downforce," he said.

On just how much downforce it might create, Albesiano replied: "We did the virtual wind tunnel testing, so called CFD, computational fluid dynamics. We simulated this device in straight line conditions, braking conditions.

"We have figures on the downforce, the drag, and the cooling effect that this device can give. I'm not sure I can give numbers, but from the downforce point of view, it's not negligible, it's something that can make a difference in performance.

"And when the range of riders is separated by hundredths of a second, even a few kilograms of downforce can be a help and make the difference.

"We still hope that the guidelines will be applied and this device will be banned for the future. Otherwise, if it is allowed, we could do something [similar] based on our experience."

New Aprilia Racing CEO Massimo Rivola suggested that the FIM had taken Ducati's word on the 'tyre cooling' purpose of the device too easily.

"So far the Federation allowed and gave its OK looking at the part and saying, 'if you say it's for cooling the tyre, then I think it's OK'. I think we need to raise the level. When we say about professionalism? Yes, this for me is something which is not acceptable. And I think you can't disagree, to be honest."

As far as a preferred outcome for the protest, Rivola again stated that Andrea Dovizioso should keep his victory.

"We never asked for the race result to be different than it was. Even at the time of the protest and the appeal, that was clear, at least to Aprilia," he said.

"I don't expect something to change in the very short term, but I expect that everybody understands that there is a need for some clarification [in the rules]. I think that the fact that we made this fuss at the first race, I think it's better to do it straight away.

"From my experience in Formula 1, if we decide to go to the aerodynamic field, it will cost a fortune to everybody. Probably for a very little gain, especially in the areas which are now free, like that one attached where it is. And even more, it is very difficult to police."

But as Albesiano pointed out, hundredths of a second makes a difference in the MotoGP classification, meaning even the smallest of gains must be pursued. The Qatar race was won by 0.023s, with the top five riders covered by 0.6s.

The Court of Appeal verdict is due to be announced sometime before this weekend's Argentina MotoGP.