Having come away from a lawyer-lined racetrack as the victor, Gigi Dall'Igna has used day one at Termas de Rio Hondo to dot the i's so to speak. The General Manager of Ducati Corse knows he's only won one battle, and having been deemed in the right by the federal tribunal, he is keen to say his piece.
“First I'd like to underline that if the protest from our rivals had been accepted, the outcome would have been that our riders, that is Dovizioso and Petrucci, would have been excluded. I've read various statements on this point and it's only right to clarify this” his response to those who raised the protests, who in turn said they did not want to take the victory away from Andrea.
This is the only point he wants to clarify.
“The second point is that Ducati has correctly read and interpreted the technical regulation and its guidelines and this has been confirmed not only by the technical director but also by the Court of Appeal, which was able to view the material we prepared as well as that presented by our rivals” states the engineer.
"WE SPENT A LOT ON THE APPEAL AND HAD TO REVEAL OUR SECRETS"
Revealing one's secrets is significant though.
“i think it's only right to say that during the hearing, we had to reveal our know-how to our rivals and this does not seems correct or sporting as far as we're concerned - he continues - Another aspect I want to highlight is that aerodynamics is a science that has always been overlooked with the bikes but is very important, not only in racing but also in general production. In recent times, Ducati Corse has been working with other technicians in the company to carry aerodynamics over to the production bikes, as this can have important results also in terms of cooling and thermal comfort, important aspects for the rider”.
This statement is connected to criticisms from those who sustain that limiting aerodynamic development is necessary in order to put the brakes on costs. Dall’Igna takes no prisoners with regard to this point.
“I want to underline that Ducati Corse spends roughly 1% of its budget on aerodynamics, so any limitation in this field would have a marginal impact on total racing costs- he states - The costs we sustained in preparing the appeal equates to 5 days in the wind tunnel. In 2018, for the aerodynamic development of our MotoGP, Ducati Corse spent 10 days in the wind tunnel: so 50% of what we allocate to aerodynamics was spent on that hearing”.
"A PROTEST AGAINST HONDA? A PROVOCATION, WE CAN WORK TOGETHER"
Gigi, however, is ready to bury the hatchet and stretch out his hand to his rivals.
“I hope and believe that we can now close this chapter and look to the future, and a better relationship between the various manufacturers in order to achieve unity, where possible, and make this championship even greater and, why not, a future that sees us collaborating to clarify those regulatory aspects that are unclear or that can be improved. I hope that, in the future, we can get back to making the MSMA and discussions about regulations and problems a central theme, finding a way to work together to improve this world”.
The intention to protest against Honda's wings is not a priority right now.
“It was a provocation to highlight that, if a certain type of behaviour was going to be sanctioned, then we could have had problems with management of the championship. The way I see it, we could have a protest at every race and I wanted to demonstrate what we were risking”.
This whole debacle has highlighted limitations in the organisation of the championship. Particularly the actions of technical director Danny Aldridge have been called into question. Should one person have the final say in such cases...
“It's not just the aerodynamics that are complicated, the electronics are too and that area has been very well managed in recent years. We are willing to evaluate any possible way of improving, also from a technical standpoint”.
"THE SPOON LOWERS TYRE TEMPERATURE BY 7 DEGREES, ONLY 400 GRAMS OF LOAD AT 180 KM/H"
Gigi goes on to reveal the numbers, something an engineer is generally reluctant to do. He explains the thermal and aerodynamic effects of the spoon.
“We carried out tests in Qatar before the race and the result was that a reduction in rear tyre temperature of around 7 or 8 degrees, so a significant result. While the load generated is around 300-400 grams at 180Km/h. The advantage in terms of tyre cooling cannot be compared to that regarding load”.
He also responds to those who sustained the solution could not be of use in Qatar, where the race is run at night and in cool temperatures.
“According to our statistical data, Losail is the 6th most demanding track in terms of rear tyre temperature. Particularly through turn 11, where everyone saw Rins' tyre smoking. It's there that Dovizioso lost to Valentino in 2015, when Rossi passed him on exit thanks to a tyre that was in a better state. This is why we chose to use the device in Qatar”.
Now that the spoon has been deemed legal, we expect a response from other manufacturers. It's almost a given that this solution will set an example.
“I think it's always been that way in motorsport, someone has an idea, tests it, and as soon as his rivals see it can be positive, they tend to copy it and if possible improve on it. Honestly, we've done that too, because the idea came from seeing the Yamaha, which mounted a similar device to ours, though for slightly different reasons, and which undoubtedly generated aerodynamic load too. I think our rivals will try to do their best to mount something similar on their bikes”.