Four teams – Aprilia, KTM, Honda, and Suzuki – protested against the use of an allegedly illegal ‘aero device’ by Ducati in its race bikes. This started after the 1st round of 2019 MotoGP world championship concluded with Andrea Dovizioso winning the race by a blink of an eye.
As per the reports, the protesting teams considered that the device that Ducati has fitted to the swingarm of its bikes was primarily an aerodynamic device and is not compliant with the MotoGP technical regulations. The matter was reported to the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel which rejected the protest.
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. 188.8.131.52 of the applicable regulations.
Following a hearing in Mies on Friday 22nd March, the MotoGP Court of Appeal handed down its decision on 26th March and the parties (the four appellants, Ducati, and the FIM) have been duly notified.
The final decision states, ‘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.’
This means that Ducati is free to use its device in future races. Ducati said that the device is primarily used to cool down the rear tire and any downforce gains were secondary. Also, by mounting the device on the swingarm, Ducati avoided the MotoGP ‘Aero Body’ rules, which limit each rider to one fairing update during the season.