Why Protest the Ducati “Spoon” in MotoGP? Suzuki Explains

Ducati rear tyre scoop - Credit Australian Motorcycle News
  • Four manufacturers protested against Ducati for using a “spoon” for the rear wheel in the Qatar MotoGP.

  • They were of the opinion that it generates downforce for the rear wheel.

  • Ducati are adamant that it’s only for cooling the tyre.

The “issue” of four manufacturers protesting against Ducati for using a “spoon” on the rear tyre in the Qatar MotoGP created a firestorm of comments when it was revealed.

Most of the commenters held the impression that other the four teams – Honda, Suzuki, Aprilia, and KTM – were “sore losers” since the protest was made after Ducati won. Some said, “They probably wouldn’t have complained if a Ducati didn’t win.” Others held the opinion that technological progress shouldn’t be stifled in MotoGP, which represents the paramount in motorcycle technology.

 

Let’s be clear here: The teams had brought the issue to the attention of the FIM prior to the race, but they are only allowed to lodge complaints AFTERthe race.

 

But why did the scoop draw so much attention in the first place?

 

Suzuki Ecstar team boss, Davide Brivio explained, “Last year, all manufacturers discussed the issue of aerodynamics, and we all agreed to set the rules, in order to limit the uncontrolled increase in research and development costs in this area.”

 

It was through this discussion that the FIM set the regulations for aero bodies and homologate them before the start of the season. Only one change is allowed throughout the season. But more importantly, the bike shouldn’t have extra aerodynamic attachments outside of the regulated areas to create downforce.

But Ducati had betrayed the principles of the regulations, according to Davide.

Davide Brivio. Photo credit A.Giberti/Ciamillo

“A few weeks ago, Ducati presented an appendage to the Technical Director, Danny Aldridge for the swingarm and front wheel cover, explaining that their purpose was to cool the tyre,” explained Davide. “The Technical Director approved them because he considered them as tyre cooling devices, and issued new guidelines pertaining to them.”

Two notices were sent to the manufacturers on 2ndand 5thMarch, but they weren’t convinced.

Engineers of the four manufacturers were convinced that the scoop contributes downforce to the swingarm, hence keeping the rear tyre more contact with the track surface. It therefore falls foul of the aero regulations, again according to the Suzuki team boss.

The four team bosses spoke to Ducati before the race. Brivio and Aprilia’s new racing CEO Massimo Rivola called on Ducati’s Gigi Dall’Igna and Paolo Ciabatti, warning that they will protest if the Italian manufacturer goes on with using the scoop.

Gigi Dall’Igna. (Image source: Insella.it)

The warnings weren’t heeded, and Ducati fitted the scoop to the GP19s of Andrea Dovizioso, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.

So, the four teams protested after the race but was rejected by Aldridge.

The case now goes to the FIM’s Court of Appeal. “We expect to get a clear position from the FIM, technical direction, and all the competent authorities. As I said this before… to clarify what we can and cannot do.”

On Ducati’s side, Gigi Dall’Igna said in an exclusive interview with GPOne, “Thinking of improving braking stability with the load generated by that thing there is simply ridiculous.” He maintains that the device is to cool the tyres, as while the track surface may be cool, the tyres do heat up a lot at Qatar.

He also said that Ducati will fit the scoop in the next round in Argentina, pending the court’s decision.

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