March 2019

Aprilia's Romano Albesiano And Massimo Rivola Speak About Ducati's Rear Spoiler, And The Cost Of Aerodynamics

After yesterday's sitting of the MotoGP Court of Appeal, ruling on Ducati's rear swing arm-fitted spoiler, no official announcement was made, and next to no information leaked out from other sources. There is still no decision, and what was discussed behind closed doors, is staying behind closed doors for the moment.

On Saturday, however, Aprilia held its Aprilia All Stars event at the Mugello circuit, a day to celebrate the fabulous machines the Italian factory has produced, and the great champions who have ridden then. Along with riders past and present, there was also Massimo Rivola, Aprilia Racing CEO, and Romano Albesiano, Aprilia Racing Manager.

That meant that they had their chance to give their side of the argument to the assembled media. In a press conference, Rivola and Albesiano explained why they had protested against Ducati's use of its spoiler during the opening race of the 2019 MotoGP season at Qatar, and made clear that it was not their intention for Andrea Dovizioso to be stripped of the win in that race.

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Court Of Appeal Ruling On Ducati Expected Monday Or Tuesday

The FIM MotoGP Court of Appeal sat today in Mies, near Geneve, Switzerland, to hear the appeal by four other factories against the ruling of Technical Director Danny Aldridge that Ducati's swing arm-mounted spoiler was legal. The court convened at 11am, and rose shortly before 6pm, but without issuing a decision. That will have to wait until early next week, with Monday or Tuesday the likely dates for an announcement.

The five manufacturers involved were all represented by the highest levels of management, according to GPOne.com. For Ducati, Ducati Corse director Gigi Dall'Igna was present, along with Technical Coordinator Fabiano Sterlacchini. Appealing the decision of the FIM Stewards were Massimo Rivola for Aprillia, Alberto Puig for Honda, Mike Leitner for KTM, and Davide Brivio for Suzuki.

Though no information has been released through official channels, the Italian sports daily Gazzetta dello Sport managed to get a reaction from Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna, which was then republished by the German language website Speedweek. Dall'Igna was reportedly furious that he had been forced to reveal information which he would have rather kept quiet about.

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Interview: Gigi Dall'Igna On MegaRide, Tire Simulation Software, And Learning From Other Factories

It is no secret that Ducati has invested a lot of time and money into tire management. An investment born of necessity: the Desmosedici is the most powerful bike on the grid, with rumors of over 300hp, and getting all that power to the ground places massive stresses on the tires. Even the smallest gains can have a big effect.

One of the avenues Ducati have been exploring has been through software modeling. The Italian factory started a collaboration with MegaRide, a software company specializing in vehicle dynamics simulation which emerged from the University of Naples. That collaboration kicked up a lot of fuss in 2017 when news of the collaboration broke, though with it came a lot of misconceptions. Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna helped clear up some of those misconceptions in an interview with MotoMatters.com at Silverstone in 2017.

Since then, the public focus on the collaboration has slipped. But the work between MegaRide and Ducati has continued, the Italian startup helping Ducati understand the performance of the rear tire, and extract even more gains from it.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoE: is it safe?

After last week’s blaze, what can MotoE learn from the hugely successful Formula E championship?

Last Thursday the entire MotoE grid was consumed by an inferno at Jerez. Riders and bikes were at the track preparing for what was supposed to be the first round of the electric-powered championship at May’s Spanish Grand Prix. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.

Electric vehicles do cause some concerns, due to the risk of electrocution and fire. Isle of Man TT marshals are equipped with special insulated rubber gloves to marshal the TT Zero race, the world’s first high-profile EV bike race. And at last year’s TT a Zero bike caught fire in the paddock and blazed for 24 hours.

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Analyzing The Ducati Aero Appeal: The Process, The Future, And Where The MSMA Goes From Here

Tomorrow, at 11am CET, the MotoGP Court of Appeal meets to consider the case of Ducati's swing arm spoiler, fitted to all three Desmosedici GP19s raced at the opening MotoGP round in Qatar. Three trained lawyers are to hear the case put by Aprilia, Honda, KTM, and Suzuki, that Ducati's spoiler breaches the technical guidelines set out by MotoGP Technical Director Danny Aldridge.

The Court of Appeal is hearing the case after it was rejected twice on the Sunday evening of the Qatar race. The FIM Stewards first rejected the protest submitted by the four manufacturers against Ducati, which the four manufacturers appealed to the FIM Appeal Stewards. After hearing evidence, the FIM Appeal Stewards decided more expert evidence and background data was needed to make a decision, and so referred that decision to the highest court inside the FIM, the FIM MotoGP Court of Appeal.

At the heart of the appeal is the belief that Ducati's spoiler creates an aerodynamic downforce. This is a violation of the technical guidelines issued by Danny Aldridge during preseason testing, which banned aerodynamic parts being attached to the rear swing arm unless they were being used to deflect water, protect the tire from debris, or cool the rear tire.

Testing uncovers problems

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Aruba.it Ducati WorldSBK Team Head To Aragon For Two-Day Private Test

The Aruba.it Ducati WorldSBK riders are heading to Aragon. There, Chaz Davies and Alvaro Bautista are to test the Ducati Panigale V4R as part of Ducati's test team, in preparation for the Aragon round of WorldSBK, due to be held there from 5th to 7th April, in just over two weeks time.

The test is crucial for Chaz Davies, in particular. The Welshman has struggled to adapt to the new Ducati V4, which requires a radically different riding style to the V-twin Panigale 1199R it replaces. Davies missed part of the winter testing schedule due to a back injury, which severely restricted his time in the saddle. 

His teammate, on the other hand, has won all six WorldSBK races (four full races and the two Superpole races) and leads the championship at the moment. Alvaro Bautista may arguably have had less of a step to make in terms of bike, coming as he did from the Desmosedici in MotoGP, but he did have to adapt to the steel brakes and much more pliant Pirelli tires used in WorldSBK. 

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Will Ducati and Dovi be axed from Qatar MotoGP results?

The FIM will soon make its decision about Ducati’s alleged aero device, but there is only one sensible way out of this mess

MotoGP’s Court of Appeal will sit at the end of this week to decide the fate of Ducati’s alleged swingarm aerodynamics device and the 25 points that Andrea Dovizioso scored in Qatar.

What is MotoGP’s court of appeal and how will it come to its decision, which will be announced before next week’s Argentine Grand Prix?

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Gordon Ritchie WorldSBK Blog: Are We Done Already?

We have never seen anything quite like the arrival of Alvaro Bautista and his big red rocket of a Ducati Panigale V4R in WorldSBK history. Well, we kinda have, in the form of Doug Polen on that year’s ballistic desmo missile back in 1991. Just not quite as dominantly in only two rounds, as Polen won five from six, after a retirement in race two at Donington.

Whatever the comparison, ex-GP runner Bautista has entered WorldSBK at Star Trek levels of spacetime continuums by winning the first six races of the 2019 season, his first ever races in WorldSBK. The fact that there are three races per meeting now, not two, only slightly detracts from the glorious arrival of the new class act - stage left, right and centre.

Really, can you pick holes in the fabric of Ducati’s Alvaro effort so far?

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 95: Steve And Gordo Talk WorldSBK In Thailand

With the latest round of WorldSBK behind us, it's time for another review of the Superbike series with WorldSBK commentator Steve English and the world's leading superbike guru Gordon Ritchie.

Steve and Gordo sat down on Sunday morning before the sprint race in Thailand to discuss the events of Saturday, and look ahead to the races on Sunday. It was, as ever, an enlightening conversation, covering a vast range of subjects around the WorldSBK paddock.

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