There wasn’t even enough time to properly celebrate the contract renewal of Alvaro Bautista, before the sword of Damocles in performance balancing arrived for the Aruba.it Racing Ducati team. A clean cut of 250 engine revs from the Panigale V4 R, followed by an addition to the Kawasaki of the same 250 rpm, with the concessions.
“I learned about it this morning and it seems strange to me that, on the same day, they penalize on the one side and increase on the other. In terms of the regulations everything is correct, but in my opinion the way they are applying it is not" admitted the Ducati-Aruba team manager, Serafino Foti to our microphones. A penalty that was greeted with perplexity and disappointment by the Borgo Panigale men, as the manager explained to us.
“The regulation says that performance can be increased or decreased with engine revs and we respect that, but we don't agree with the way this balance is calculated and applied, because at the moment everything is focused solely on Alvaro. He was penalized because he's the one performing, but at the same time all the other riders who race with the Ducati were also penalized, and they are already struggling - observed Serafino - In addition, this is one of the top championships together with MotoGP, where teams investing a lot of money and manufacturers investing in know-how are involved and we find it absolutely correct that those who, in this case, invest in development are not rewarded. Ducati goes to races to promote its products, because it wants to be the market leader. It has the best engineers, it develops the bikes in an incredible way, investing money to do it, and in the end it doesn't help, because when you get to a certain level you get penalized. Whoever wins should be rewarded not penalized, because otherwise it's easy: if you're not competitive you don't do anything, then someone will help you with the balance. This goes against the spirit of competition, which for me is competition in all respects, between riders, teams and manufacturers. A real competition in which the best man wins”.
Measures that were not taken in the years of domination by Kawasaki, which won six consecutive titles between 2015 and 2020.
“They won six championships deservedly, because they were better, but how come there wasn't all this when Jonathan Rea won six years in a row, with a 150-point lead, and we had our V2 struggling on the straight? - Foti pointed out - We respect the regulation, but we don't agree with this penalty. Already in 2019 250 revs were taken from us, today they took another 250 from us: we are the only ones they have always taken away and never given. In addition, with the current regime we are at 15,850 rpm, which means that we are 650 rpm less than the street bike, which revs at 16,500 rpm in sixth gear and anyone can buy it from the dealer. This seems absurd to me."
It’s a penalty that has ruined the mood of the men in Red and which, according to the manager, will not only affect Bautista's performance, but all the work done by the Borgo Panigale team.
“Bautista was a little disappointed. Everything seems to be aimed at him, because he has found an incredible feeling with the bike. He's having fun, he's just renewed, and this blow hit him immediately. In Bologna they are all aligned and they too respect the regulation, but I don't agree with the decision that has been taken - Serafino affirmed - Then, another important aspect is that all the calculations for the balance are made, but we made a change for one rpm level and this will cause a crisis for us with the gear ratios, because there are corners, especially the slow ones, where you can't do anything to deal with this rpm problem, because they take away your range of use. It's not so much for performance, but for the fact that these movements shouldn't be communicated the day before a race, when you've already done everything and approved a change, because you could have difficulties. This is what we don't agree with: if all the Ducatis had been up front it would have made sense, even though the fact that the guys going well who should be rewarded, not penalized, doesn't make sense. Otherwise there is no point in being the best".