MotoGP, For Ducati the spoiler ban is damaging for the industry

Dall'Igna is ironic: "I would rather have invested in that area than in radios. Aerodynamics are a resource with regard to the product."


Once a year Dorna organises a press conference reserved for the manufacturers' (technical) representatives.

This year Shuhei Nakamoto (HRC Executive Vice President), Kouichi Tsuji (General Manager Motorsports Division Yamaha), Gigi Dall'Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) and Ken Kawauchi (Technical Manager, Suzuki) were all in attendance. Noticeably absent was Romano Albesiano from Aprilia.

Was this an oversight or did they think that General Gigi, considering his background, could also represent the Venetian manufacturer?
A joke of course but, considering how the most interesting aspect of the meeting was Dall'Igna's intelligent, sarcastic response to his Japanese colleagues, we can confirm that, at least when it comes to humour, Italy beats Japan 1-0.

The meeting ended with talk of radio communications from the garage, a subject recently raised particularly by Valentino Rossi.

RADIO YES, RADIO NO - "This year the lack of radio communications could have penalised us - said Tsuji - but once the lights go out all decisions are in the riders' hands".

"In F.1 the costs regarding communications and telemetry are very high", underlined Nakamoto as if to say that he doesn't see the need in motorcycling.

NO TO THE SPOILERS: A MISTAKE - "In certain races, like the flag-to-flags, communicating with the riders via radio might be interesting - said a smiling Gigi Dall'Igna - but to be honest I'd prefer to invest my budget in more interesting areas, such as the development of wings and aerodynamics for example!"

These words put an end to the debate that had developed between Nakamoto and the Italian engineer.

"I come from F.1 - explained the vice-president of HRC - and I know what they spend to develop aerodynamics. Adding that cost to our budgets would not represent a move in the direction of maintaining costs. Without mentioning the danger of those appendages".

Dall'Igna was quick to respond.

A LOSS FOR THE ENTIRE INDUSTRY - "Ducati has used spoilers since 2015, there have been many crashes and in not one case did the wings represent a danger. There is no data to support this. I believe it's a big mistake to ban them and this has been done to take an advantage away from a rival, probably because we are ahead of the competition when it comes to development. In reality, this prohibition goes against the interests of the motorcycling industry because the development of aerodynamics is practically non-existent, while it is something that could be developed in MotoGP".

"In F.1 the cost of aerodynamics development represents 70% of a project's cost - replied Nakamoto - but the results can't be seen in the car industry".

This is not exactly true seeing as even mid-range cars benefit from research carried out in top-level racing competitions, in terms of carefully designed front sections, rear extractors, not to mention actual wings on supercars. It is true however, as Nakamoto states, that there is little talk of suspension in F.1., something that is extremely important when it comes to two wheels.

HONDA POWER -The impression that we got from the meeting is that within the MSMA, the association that brings the manufacturers together, it is nearly always Honda that speaks, with Ducati the only speaker.

Both Tsuji and Kawahuchi had only marginal involvement in the talks.
MICHELIN PROMOTED - But there wasn't just talk of aerodynamics. In terms of the tyres, or rather the difficulties in adapting from the Bridgestones to the Michelins, it was interesting to hear the opinion of the Yamaha boss, who recalled how the Iwata manufacturer, after having tested different chassis with different weight distribution, actually opted for one very close to that of 2015, that used by satellite team Tech3.

Ducati also confirmed that it has worked principally on settings, complementing the work done by the French tyre producer, with the exception of two races, Jerez and Barcellona, where the Michelins didn't work well on the red bikes.

HONDA'S ISSUES ARE ELECTRONIC - On the subject of engines, Nakamoto stated he is satisfied with the performance of the Honda four-cylinders, specifying that the distribution problems Marquez and Pedrosa speak of depend entirely on the new electronics that are "more difficult to manage than Honda's own original electronics, and our engineers are still trying to understand".

"We started with the open software one year before  - Dall'Igna reminds us - so probably we'll a little further ahead. Actually we can probably say that we're almost at the previous level".

Asked about Moto2, the antithesis of what the world championship should stand for, seeing as it used the standard Honda CBR 600 engine, all the technicians were strangely in agreement as to the formula's benefit.

MOTO2 SATISFIES EVERYONE - "We need to agree on the definition of prototype - clarified Dall'Igna - because in Moto2 the engine is standard, but everything else is a prototype. We were initially worried as to whether this class would be able to supply MotoGP with good riders, but we've been proved wrong".

"As long as teams are happy, we'll continue to supply the engines", concluded Nakamoto.
Discussion ended with an age-old MotoGP-F.1. comparison.

"I've done both and must say that from a technical point of view, in the auto world, they can go into greater detail in every area, mainly because there are ten times the number of engineers working on every single problem. This is exciting, but is also very expensive. And from the spectating point of view, motorcycling is a lot more interesting".


Translated by Heather Watson

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