Dominique Aegerter has been stripped of his victory in the Misano Moto2 race for use of illegal engine oil. The oil was sent for testing directly after the Misano race, and found to be in contravention of the rules, which mandate the use of oil from the official supplier to Moto2, LIQUI MOLY.
Aegerter and the Kiefer Racing team were notified of the violation at the Aragon round, and immediately asked for the B sample (the second sample taken to rule out contamination or mistakes) to be examined. That was done between Aragon and Motegi, and the same result was found. At Motegi, the FIM Panel of Stewards confirmed the penalty. The Kiefer team maintain their innocence, and issued a press release denying any wrongdoing, but accepting the ruling, and waiving their right of appeal.
The delay in finalizing the punishment is due to the process required to establish the facts of such an offense. The oil samples have to be sent to labs for testing, and the findings of that analysis presented to the team and the rider at a hearing. Given that riders, teams, and FIM Stewards are scheduled to be in the same place every race weekend, such hearings are normally held at race events. That means there can be several weeks in between an infringement and a penalty being imposed for such an infringement.
Though Kiefer insists they used the official oil, there are incentives for a team to risk using illegal oil. In a series with a spec engine, where engines are carefully assembled and checked to ensure they all produce as close to the same horsepower as possible, marginal gains can count. Using a thinner oil or oil with special additives can extract one or two more horsepower from the engine, and give the team that uses it a slim advantage.
Speaking to German-language website Speedweek, Suter boss Eskil Suter dismissed the idea that Kiefer would have used an illegal oil as "ridiculous". Suter told Speedweek he believes it must be a faulty analysis. In response to the fact that the B sample was also found to be illegal, Suter said he believed there are alternative pathways to contamination. It could, he said, be that oil used to prepare the clutch plates could have contaminated Aegerter's engine oil. The fact that this is the second time this year that a rider has been found guilty of using an ilegal oil - Mattia Pasini was stripped of his second place at Barcelona for the same offense - suggests to Suter that that, too, was a faulty analysis.
The penalty imposed, disqualification from the Misano round of Moto2 and stripping Aegerter of the 25 points he earned there, will have a small but not insignificant effect on the Moto2 championship. With Aegerter disqualified, Tom Luthi has been handed the win, and an extra 5 points. As Franco Morbidelli did not score any points at Misano, the Italian's lead in the Moto2 championship is cut from 24 to 19 points. With just three races left to go, that could end up being a decisive factor in the title chase.
Aegerter's disqualification has few other effects in the championship, other than for himself. His points tally is cut from 99 points to just 74, and he drops from eighth in the championship down to eleventh, behind Xavi Vierge. Dorna and the FIM have yet to release an officially revised championship points table, but will surely do so shortly.
Below is the FIM Stewards Panel press release confirming the punishment, and below that, Kiefer's press release refuting the allegations but accepting the ruling.
FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel
NOTIFICATION OF SANCTION
To: The Team of Dominique AEGERTER, Rider No. 77 of the Moto2 Class.
According to Article 3.5.5 of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, we confirm our decision.
On 9 September 2017 at post qualifying technical control after the Moto2 Qualifying Practice of the GRAN PREMIO TRIBUL MASTERCARD DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI, you were found to be using an oil outside the FIM Moto2 specifications.
This contravenes the Article 126.96.36.199.3b of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations “Only engine oil from the appointed oil supplier is permitted. This oil will be available at all official events and will conform to the FIM Grand Prix specification for the relevant class. The use of the official oil without any addition or alteration is mandatory.”
You were summoned to attend a hearing with the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel during the GRAN PREMIO MOVISTAR DE ARAGON. You attended the hearing and acknowledged the facts presented and elected to have the B Sample tested.
The B sample test results were received, showing the same results as the A sample, with both samples failing to comply with the regulations. You were subsequently summoned to attend a hearing with the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel during the MOTUL GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN. You attended the hearing and acknowledged the facts presented.
For the above reasons, the FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel has imposed upon you a disqualification from the results of the entire event, being the Moto2 class Qualifying and Race of the GRAN PREMIO TRIBUL MASTERCARD DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI according to Article 3.2.1 of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix Disciplinary and Arbitration Code.
Right of Appeal
According to Articles 3.4.2, 3.4.6, and 3.4.7 of the FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, you have the right to appeal against this decision of the MotoGP Stewards Panel to the FIM Appeal Stewards. A statement of appeal must be made within 30 minutes from the date and time of this notification, and accompanied by a security deposit of €1320. The appeal can be lodged with IRTA who may also arrange for guarantee of the security deposit payment.
FIM MotoGP Stewards Panel
In a technical control at the Misano Grand Prix, an oil sample was taken from the motorcycle of race winner Dominique Aegerter.
In the analysis of this oil sample, irregularities were found and later confirmed with the B sample.
According to technical regulations, this means the disqualification in the Misano race. As a result, the victory of Dominique Aegerter and Kiefer Racing at this Grand Prix has been revoked.
Kiefer Racing has no other choice than to accept this decision, since the same irregularity occurred in both the tests. However, this irregularity remains an inexplicable mystery to the team management and the engineers in Aegerter’s crew. Kiefer Racing has evidently used engine oil according to the FIM Moto2 specifications and declares categorically that no additives whatsoever have been used.
The FIM's decision is devastating for Kiefer Racing. We have to accept this ruling, but we strongly deny any wrongdoing.