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MotoGP: Court of appeal reject protests against Ducati spoiler

Published: 21 March 2019

The FIM Court of Appeal have ruled that Ducati’s spoiler device, trialled in the opening round of the 2019 MotoGP season, is legal – despite protests filed by Aprilia, Honda, Suzuki and KTM in the aftermath of Andrea Dovizioso’s win at the Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago. Declaring the provisional result final and allowing Ducati to use the spoiler in future races, they ruled that there was no case to answer for.

Speaking in the statement, the FIM stated:

During the MotoGP race at the season opener in Qatar on 10 March 2019, technical protests concerning the use of a device on the Ducati machine were lodged with the FIM MotoGP Stewards by Team Suzuki Ecstar against #43 Jack Miller (Ducati), by Repsol Honda Team against #4 Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), and by Red Bull KTM Factory Team and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini against #9 Danilo Petrucci (Ducati).

The protesting teams considered that the device was primarily an aerodynamic device and therefore not compliant with the MotoGP technical regulations. After a hearing, the four protests were rejected. 

The same four teams then lodged appeals against the MotoGP Stewards’ decision to the MotoGP Appeal Stewards and a further hearing was conducted. The MotoGP Appeal Stewards determined that further technical evaluation was required and that this was not possible under the circumstances. They therefore decided to refer the matter to the MotoGP Court of Appeal in accordance with Art. 3.3.3.2 of the applicable Regulations. 

Following a hearing in Mies on Friday 22 March, the MotoGP Court of Appeal handed down its decision today 26 March and the parties (the four appellants, Ducati and the FIM) have been duly notified.  On these grounds, the MotoGP Court of Appeal rules that:

  • The appeals filed by Team Aprilia, Team Suzuki, Team Honda and Team KTM are admissible.
  • The provisional race results are confirmed and are declared as final.
  • The request to declare the Device illegal and ban its use in future races is rejected.

An appeal against this decision may be lodged before the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) in Lausanne Switzerland within 5 days pursuant to Article 3.9 of the 2019 FIM World Championship Grand Prix Regulations.

The row erupted after Dovizioso sported Ducati technical boss Gigi Dall’Igna’s latest invention, a spoiler fitted to the swinging arm of the Desmosedici. Not explicitly banned by the rules but open to interpretation – and apparently affected by conflicting advice from MotoGP’s technical bosses -  it opened a can of worms after the first race of the year.

Launched by a protest filed by Gresini Aprilia, Repsol Honda, Ecstar Suzuki and Red Bull KTM after the race at the Losail circuit, the matter was first rejected, then appealed and passed on to the Court of Appeals by the FIM Appeals Stewards in Qatar, led by Bennetts British Superbike race director Stuart Higgs.

The court met in Switzerland on Friday and promised that a decision would be reached before this weekend's second round of the championship in Argentina, with teams jetting off to South America today.

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