MotoGP

Suzuki explains Ducati protest appeal

Suzuki Team Manager Davide Brivio is adamant Ducati’s device on the rear swingarm does have aerodynamic benefits; says Suzuki “lodged the protest … in order to clarify the situation once and for all.”

Suzuki has put forward its reasons for appealing the FIM MotoGP Stewards’ verdict on Ducati’s new rear swingarm device, insisting the new part was being used for aerodynamic purposes.

Andrea Dovizioso’s victory in a thrilling curtain raiser in Qatar is currently subject to appeal, as four factories – Honda, Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia – protested the new device attached to the swingarms of the GP19s of race winner, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.

The post-race protest was rejected by the FIM MotoGP Stewards, but it didn’t end there; the four factories then appealed this decision, meaning the matter has been sent to the MotoGP Court of Appeals.

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CrashTV: 

This stems from a document the FIM sent to teams on March, 2nd, which apparently states such devices outside the bike's main body (Aero Body) are allowed, as long as they do not feature aerodynamic benefits. The document has yet to be made public.

Ducati has insisted the swingarm device is in place to cool the rear tyre, with Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti confirming as much to Motomatters.com on Sunday night.

This has been called into question, however. Davide Brivio, team boss of Ecstar Suzuki, disagrees, and feels the device is “against the principle of the regulation.”

Brivio also confirmed he spoke to Ducati representatives before the race, telling them a protest would be issued if its riders used the device during Sunday’s race.

“Last year, all the Manufacturers participating in the MotoGP World Championship discussed the matter of aerodynamics and we all agreed on some rules to limit the uncontrolled increase of the costs for research and development in the area of aerodynamics,” read Brivio’s statement, issued to Crash.net.

“The decision, which eventually became the new regulation, was that every manufacturer must homologate one set of aerodynamic bodywork before the beginning of the Championship, with only one update allowed during the season. It was stated that the rest of the motorcycle should not have any further aerodynamic aids fitted, with specific referral to the downforce.

“A few weeks ago, Ducati presented the Technical Director with an appendage for the rear swingarm and a cover for the front wheel, explaining that their purpose was to cool down the rear tyre.

“The Technical Director accepted and approved these new add-ons as a cooling system for the tyres and issued new guidelines with regard to the technical regulation (dated March 2nd and then 5th ).

“Engineers working for the four manufacturers (Us, Aprilia, Honda, and KTM) who lodged the complaint believe that those appendages have an aerodynamic effect, generating downforce, and are therefore against the principles of the regulation.

“We called a meeting with the Technical Director to ask for an explanation, and clarification, about this. We were not satisfied with the answers given. I then privately spoke with Ducati (and so did some others) to express our dissatisfaction with their interpretation, anticipating an official complaint if they still decided to use the new add-ons.

“This happened nonetheless; Ducati equipped the race bikes of three of their riders with the new appendages, and so we lodged the protest. We did this in order to clarify the situation once and for all.”

Several sources close to the protesting factories confirmed they did not believe the subsequent appeal would change the result, which saw Dovizioso beat Marc Marquez by 0.023s.

It was done to clarify the regulations for the future, to conclusively understand whether this area of development should remain open to factories. 

As Brivio stated, “Now we expect to get a clear position from FIM, from the Technical Direction and from all the Authorities in charge.

“By filing this protest we are forcing them to evaluate, to judge, and to clarify the principles of the rules, the regulations, and the guidelines. As stated before, this is the main purpose of our actions: to clarify what we can and cannot do.

“We have made an appeal against the decision of the FIM Appeal Stewards Panel and they have referred it to another level of judgment, which is the MotoGP Court of Appeal.”

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