Thomas Morsellino

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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Tom's Tech Treasures: Analyzing MotoGP Tech Updates At Qatar, Part 1

Thomas Morsellino is a French freelance journalist and photographer, with keen eye for the technical details of MotoGP bikes. You may have seen some of his work on Twitter, where he runs the @Off_Bikes account. Peter Bom is a world championship winning former crew chief, with a deep and abiding knowledge of every aspect of motorcycle racing. Peter has worked with such riders as Cal Crutchlow, Danny Kent, and Stefan Bradl. After every race, MotoMatters.com will be publishing a selection of Tom's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with extensive technical explanations of the details by Peter Bom. MotoMatters.com subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of Peter's technical explanations of the photos. Readers who do not support the site will be limited to the 800x600 resolution photos, and an explanation of two photos.


New Honda fairing (Crutchlow’s RC213V)
Peter Bom: With all the extra horsepower which Honda has this year, together with a different chassis (to take some of the load from the front tire), it would make sense that there could be another aero update as well. As a side note, Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna has hinted at protesting this particular fairing design.


Ducati GP19 front disc cover

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Analyzing Ducati's Aero Attachments: Four Factories Protest, But Are They Legal?

Andrea Dovizioso's victory in the opening race of the 2019 MotoGP season at Qatar is currently subject to appeal. Dovizioso raced in Qatar using the aerodynamic components previously debuted by factory Ducati teammate Danilo Petrucci at the Qatar test, and used by Petrucci and Pramac Ducati's Jack Miller during practice at the Qatar MotoGP round.

After Dovizioso won a thrilling, close race by a margin of 0.023 seconds from Marc Márquez, the top five finishing with six tenths of a second, but the race was the first time Dovizioso had used the new aero parts. That prompted four factories – Aprilia, Honda, KTM, and Suzuki – to lodge a protest with the FIM Stewards, claiming that the aerodynamic device attached to the swingarm (see the tweet from MotoMatters.com contributor Tom Morsellino below) is illegal.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: A Close-Up View Of The MotoGP Bikes At The Jerez Test - Part 2

Thomas Morsellino is a French freelance journalist and photographer, with keen eye for the technical details of MotoGP bikes. You may have seen some of his work on Twitter, where he runs the @Off_Bikes account. After every race, MotoMatters.com will be publishing a selection of Tom's photos of MotoGP bikes, together with extensive technical explanations of the details by Peter Bom. MotoMatters.com subscribers will get access to the full resolution photos, which they can download and study in detail, and all of Peter's technical explanations of the photos. Readers who do not support the site will be limited to the 800x600 resolution photos, and an explanation of two photos.


Clutch cable on the Honda RC213V
David Emmett: Honda are one of the only factories to still use cable-operated clutches rather than hydraulic clutches. Cable clutches are lighter, simpler, and given that the clutch is only used once during the race (at the start), any benefits a hydraulic clutch might have are barely a factor.


Ducati GP19 (Alvaro Bautista) with the parallelogram torque arm system
David Emmett: For a full explanation of what Ducati might be trying to achieve with this, read Peter Bom's full analysis.

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Exactly What Does Ducati's Torque Arm Do?


The forces in play with Ducati's torque arm

Ducati has always been known for taking the path less traveled when it comes to their MotoGP bikes. Their willingness to experiment and innovate – and sometimes, pick up old solutions which were dropped in the past – has been put into overdrive since Gigi Dall’Igna took over as head of Ducati Corse, the Bologna factory's racing department.

The appearance of a torque arm on the Ducati GP19s at the Jerez test in November last year is another example of exactly this kind of thinking from Dall'Igna. An idea which was once common practice in racing motorcycles in the 1970s and early 1980s, but disappeared shortly afterward. Why had Ducati reinstated the idea again? What were they trying to achieve?

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MotoMatters.com Subscriber January Prize Draw: Win A Honda RC213V-S Press Pack & Marc VDS Calendar

There are many benefits to supporting MotoMatters.com with a subscription: access to our exclusive interviews and background articles, full-size photographs by our ace snappers such as CormacGP and Scott Jones, and perfect marriage of full-sized technical close-ups by Tom Morsellino with explanation by Peter Bom.

From this year, there is another benefit: all of our paying subscribers will be entered into our prize draw, where they can win a range of MotoGP-related goodies. The draws will be held once a month, with winners drawn at random from among active subscribers.

To kick things off, we have two grand prizes for subscribers. First prize is an exclusive object indeed: the media pack handed out at the official launch of Honda's RC213V-S street bike at the Barcelona round of MotoGP in 2015.

Honda RC213V-S press pack cover

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Tom's Tech Treasures: A Close-Up View Of The MotoGP Bikes At The Jerez Test - Part 1


Honda RC213V steering damper
David Emmett: Honda have switched the location of their steering damper to above the tank. It's a conventional damper (the rules say electronic control of the steering damper is not allowed), but it has been relocated because of the change to the air intake, which now goes straight through the steering head.


Joan Mir’s Suzuki GSX-RR
David Emmett: This is the 2018 version of the chassis. The later version doesn't have the carbon sections glued to the upper part of the frame. Suzuki staff said that working with the carbon sections had allowed them to work on varying stiffness, and they weren't needed any longer.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Close Up With The 2019 MotoE And Triumph-Powered Moto2 Machines


Behind the fairing of the Kalex (Marc VDS)
Peter Bom: A typical winter test photo. The wiring hasn't been tidied up and isn't very neat. Below the clutch lever, you can see a sensor which measures the movement of the steering damper. This isn't part of the ECU strategy (yet), but it does tell the data engineer a lot about the position of the bike, for example, if the bike is getting sideways when braking.


Triggered wheel to compute the wheel speed (MotoE)

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Black Carbon From The Valencia MotoGP Test


Under the tank of the Yamaha YZR-M1 (Petronas)
Peter Bom: A dummy fuel tank on the Yamaha R1 as used by the mechanics to start and warm up the bike in pit lane. The real fuel tank is constantly measured for weight (= amount of fuel) to calculate fuel consumption. It was with a fuel tank like this that things went horribly wrong at the Suzuki pit box in Sepang. Fuel leaked out from a leaking hose and the bike caught fire.


Carbon swingarm on the RC213V (Marc Márquez)
Peter Bom: Honda RC213V’s carbon swingarm. Note the aluminum chain tensioner integrated to make room for the brake caliper and speeds sensors.

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Tom's Tech Treasures: Preparing MotoGP Bikes For Sepang's Tropical Heat


Air cooling system on Kalex (Marc VDS), for water
Peter Bom: Moto2 engines automatically enrich the fuel mixture over 80°C in order to cool the engine. This rich mixture causes a slight loss of power and in the extremely tight Moto2 class, every detail is worth looking at. Here we see the MarcVDS team, cooling down there Moto2 engines while the bike waits in the pit box.


Air duct for front calipers (Yamaha YZR-M1)
Peter Bom: Air ducts to guide air to the brake caliper, and no covers over the carbon brake disks. Carbon brakes have a fixed temperature window in which they operate well. Too low and they don’t work (very low coefficient of friction), too high and they get damaged.

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