Ducati appeal decision due before Argentina

The outcome of the case against Ducati's MotoGP wings which was taken to the Court of Appeals following the Qatar Grand Prix will be decided before Argentina.

Four manufacturers – Aprilia, KTM, Honda and Suzuki – lodged a protest against Ducati's use of its swingarm-mounted aerodynamic 'scoop' following Andrea Dovizioso's victory in Qatar. 

The initial protest was thrown out by Race Direction, however the aggrieved parties appealed this and the case has now gone to the MotoGP Court of Appeal, where a decision will be announced prior to the next round of the series in Argentina at the end of March.

A MotoGP statement read: “Following the MotoGP Race of the VisitQatar Grand Prix on 10 March, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel composed by Freddy Spencer (IRTA-USA), Bill Cumbow (FIM–USA) and Ralf Bohnhorst (FIM-GER) received protests from Aprilia Racing Team Gresini, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Repsol Honda Team and Team Suzuki Ecstar. 

“The protests concerned aerodynamic devices on the rear swingarm of Ducati motorcycles driven by Andrea Dovizioso & Danilo Petrucci (Team Mission Winnow Ducati) and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing). 

“The FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel rejected their protests. The Teams then lodged an appeal with the FIM Appeal Stewards consisting of FIM Steward Stuart Higgs (GBR) and a second appeal Steward Cesario Samarita (PHI), appointed by the Qatar Motorcycle Federation (QMMF). 

“In accordance with article of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, the FIM Appeal Stewards referred the case to the MotoGP Court of Appeal. 

“The MotoGP Court of Appeal is made up of three judges belonging to the FIM International Commission of Judges. 

“A hearing will be organised shortly with representatives from the teams concerned. The decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal will be announced before the Argentinian Grand Prix on 31 March. 

“The result of the VisitQatar Grand Prix stands, subject to the final decision of the MotoGP Court of Appeal.”

Ducati first tested the offending device last month in Malaysia, and claim its purpose is to cool the rear tyre. 

However, the manufacturers who lodged the complaint believe it has an aerodynamic benefit, and therefore contravenes the current regulations. 

A similar device was seen on the Yamaha in Austria and in Valencia last year, though the Iwata marque used it to clear water away from the rear tyre. 

Aprilia CEO Massimo Rivola revealed FIM technical director Danny Aldridge told the Italian marque using such a device is only prohibited in wet conditions on safety grounds, and abandoned its own plans to develop something similar for dry conditions.