Simone Battistella is Andrea Dovizioso's and Alvaro Bautista's manager, but he also boasts a past in the four-wheel sector as sporting director in Formula 2 and 3. Coming from car racing, he knows the battles that take place not only on the track, but also at the technical table and, sometimes, in the courts among manufacturers. The case that involved Ducati in Qatar has led, in all fairness, to certain issues even in motorcycling.
"Truthfully, I was amazed that there were never any complaints in MotoGP," revealed Battistella. "It's correct to contact the referee when doubts arise."
So, are the teams that complained correct when they say they just wanted clarifications?
"The clarifications are requested from the FIM or from within the MSMA. When you file a complaint, you want your opponent to be penalized. Then, once it has been rejected, making an appeal means bringing on a frontal attack. It's still legitimate, fair behavior, since a manager must protect the interests of his team and of his sponsors."
So, was the intention to penalize Dovizioso?
"Honda filed a complaint against Dovizioso, and he would have been disqualified if it had been accepted. If their intent was to have clarifications, they could have made a complaint against Miller or Petrucci, which would have had no effect on the ranking. It's like asking a referee for a penalty and then claiming to have done so only to know if a foul had been committed, and not that of making the opposing team lose."
They said that limiting aerodynamics contains costs...
"That is nonsense. In motorcycling, those with a budget of 100 spend it all, and the same goes for those who have a budget of 1,000. Research will never stop."
The paddock now seems split in two. What's your opinion?
"It's clear that relations between the teams are tense. That's the consequence of such aggressive moves. Furthermore, relations between the manufacturers and the FIM are also tense because attacks were made through the media on the inadequacy of the technical sector."
But that seems like a real problem...
"I come from cars, and I've always seen an unfair battle in this field. On one hand, there are the experts from the Federation and, on the other, hundreds of engineers who try to improve their vehicles by staying within the regulation. It's normal that there may be times when doubts arise about the interpretation of the rules."
This is something new for the MotoGP...
"True, it's new, but it's a natural process. Now a period of adjustment will be needed."
What do you expect?
"That the regulation be rewritten and the technical control structure be revised since, at the moment, it seems to be insufficient. Again, it seems to be a normal process, but it must be carried out through dialogue, and not using the press to battle it out. We need dialogue between the FIM and the manufacturers. We surely can't go back as it was, after what happened."
Do you think that Ducati won't respond, fire with fire?
"Ducati dodged a bullet and is now looking ahead. I think it needs to be toned down, and start talking, again. Then there will always be someone intelligent who will come up with something original. Do you remember Ross Brawn? He bought the team from Honda for a dollar and won the championship by finding an intelligent solution."
Isn't there a risk that the fans will get tired of hearing about certain issues?
"F1 and MotoGP enthusiasts are the same. They don't give a damn about what's going on in the courts. They want to see interesting races and a development of intelligent vehicles. In my opinion, it's exactly what's happening with aerodynamics, for which a development is positive. It's something new that is allowing to improve the performance of the bikes."