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MotoGP: Honda highlight rule loopholes with spoiler device

Published: 29 March 2019

Honda have apparently succeeded in their goal of highlighting the loopholes in MotoGP’s rule books by submitting their own version of Ducati’s spoiler for approval by technical control – having the part initially refused after claiming that it was for aerodynamic reasons.

However, it’s believed by MCN’s sources that Honda then resubmitted the part again, this time telling the rulemakers that it’s intention was to increase the stiffness of the swing arm – something that is allowed within the rules yet highlights the holes in the current rules.

The controversy started at the Qatar Grand Prix when Andrea Dovizioso won the race using Ducati’s new swing arm spoiler, before it was protested by Aprilia, Honda, Suzuki and KTM – and found by the FIM to be legal. However, that legal ruling seems to hinge on a potential loophole in the rules, allowing the part to be within the rules as long as it’s primary purpose is for cooling the rear tyre and not to create downforce.

But with Ducati admitting that the part does generate aerodynamic downforce and gives a benefit as a secondary effect, it’s believed that Honda and Aprilia both already attempted to run their own carbon copies of the part. Initially making it clear to MotoGP bosses that it is for aerodynamic reasons, it’s also believed that they were banned immediately from using the component this weekend at the Argentine Grand Prix, before resubmitting it.

The ongoing confusion once again highlights the problem that all six factory teams have highlighted – the inconsistency in the rules created by MotoGP’s current system of allowing technical director Danny Aldridge almost sole control through the process of issuing guidance notes on rules to the teams.

Speaking yesterday ahead of the start of action at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, Ducati technical boss Gigi Dall’igna stressed that despite being on the winning side of this week’s legal proceedings, he’s still keen to see changes made to the system.

“We believe that now we have to close this chapter and that we have to look forward and try to be more close with our competitors in the MSMA, in order to develop as much as possible the championship and to clarify and change rules that aren’t properly written or can be better written. That’s something we’re always keen to do.

“For sure we can do something better, and we’re here to discuss with the other manufacturers, with the FIM, and with Dorna to if possible improve the system.”

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