New Aprilia boss Massimo Rivola insists the team’s protest against Ducati’s swing arm spoiler at the opening race of 2019 was important for the sport, despite having their appeal rejected by the FIM Court of Appeal.
A former manager of the Ferrari Formula One team and very familiar with the politics of motorsport rule-making, Rivola is adamant that the decision to protest, one that has drawn considerable ire from MotoGP fans, was in the best interests of the sport. Seeking not to punish but to clarify the rulebook, Rivola says that going to court was the only option.
“My actions were to show that what we have right now is not adequate and what happened afterwards with Honda showed that we were right. They presented the same device as Ducati, told them that it was for aerodynamic downforce and they said ‘no, you cannot use it’. Then they told them it was for another purpose and ‘oh ok now you can use it’. Clearly the rules do not work; that’s not the way to make rules.
“I don’t want to say that my experience and my opinions are the right ones, but I’m happy to give them if it helps to fix things. I would prefer that we concentrate more on rules than on guidelines, because guidelines are subject to interpretation. There are many small things that can be implemented, but it’s far from my job to do a copy and paste of the F1 rules that have made a far more boring world than this one! I’d like to have things more black and white, so that the rules are the same for everyone.”
And while some have dismissed Aprilia, Honda, Suzuki and KTM’s protests as nothing but sore losers complaining because they didn’t think of the idea first, Rivola says that the protest came about because his team had the idea first and were prevented from using it.
“In fact, we were the first to think of it and we wrote to the technical director, but he was clear in his reply that we could not develop it for that purpose. Now we have to wait and see what happens next, but I think there will be some more changes to the rules very soon.”
There is one thing that the Italian is certain of; that MotoGP should clamp down on aerodynamic development before the series follows F1 down an expensive path.
“In F1 we spent a lot trying to find an aerodynamic advantage. When the rules were written last year saying you could only homologate two aero packages, it was designed as a controlling factor, and the interpretation of the rule in any other area should respect the rules.”