The final phase of the MotoGP championship always brings its controversies. Whether related to the aerodynamics, the electronics or, in this case, the fuel consumption which, as we know, is set at 22 litres.
Since racing and regulations began, there have always been those who try to read between the lines, exploiting any incomplete or vague rules.
The best 'police' in these cases are a team's rivals.
But there is rarely a punishment. There is too much at stake and disqualification is no longer fashionable. A tip-off is better. Anonymous of course.
And it appears this is what happened at Motegi because, without any official communication or rule change, MotoGP teams received an email from Danny Aldridge, MotoGP Technical Director, communicating a new rule, or rather the sealing of the fuel tanks.
It appears there was 'reasonable doubt' that a team was replacing it once the fuel temperature control had been carried out.
The fuel cannot be cooled more than 15° below air temperature. And since fuel diminishes in volume as the temperature lowers, and the freezing point is close to -50°, the result is that 22 'cold' litres have more combustible power than 22 warm litres.
It would have been done like this: at 1pm, teams are told the ambient temperature, with the possibility to lower the fuel by 15°. It appears that someone replaced the tank checked by the technical supervisor with another, containing cooler fuel, thus bypassing the check. Whether this was a team or manufacturer itself we do not know.
“Naturally a Japanese manufacturer is at fault – commented one of the Japanese managers with irony – it's well known that our engineers always come up with something!”.
A way to direct suspicion onto one of the European manufacturers.
Ducati perhaps, always in the eye of the storm when it comes to its inventiveness and innovation?
The reality is that the performance of the Desmosedici GP18 is curious.
it's also not the first time that teams go up against the red bikes. They did so with the introduction of the single ECU and also with the aerodynamic limits. All spokes between the wheels for the brilliance of Gigi Dall'Igna.
Davide Tardozzi, Ducati team manager, denies that the decision to seal the tanks has anything to do with them.
“It's true, they've introduced this rule but it's nothing to do with us. What they're saying is just nonsense."
In any case, they have also banned any form of device that can cool fuel from the time of heading out onto the grid until the race start.
The fact remains that where there's smoke, there's fire. And when there are flammable materials, it's hard to conceal.