The protest was turned down because Ducati insisted the scoop was a tyre-cooling device, designed to channel air to the rear tyre. At that time, Michelin’s rear slick was very temperature sensitive and liable to degrade before the end of races, if not well looked after.
Michelin’s latest rear slick, introduced in 2020 (and controversially not used at Mandalika) is usually less prone to overheating and degrading.
Halfway through last season Ducati removed the swinglet from its GP21s and Yamaha and Honda followed. This year only Aprilia, KTM and Suzuki continue to fit the devices to their MotoGP bikes.
So why did three of MotoGP’s six manufacturers get rid?
“Ducati made the ‘spoon’ to throw air to the rear tyre to cool it down,” said Honda’s Pol Espargaró. “Then everyone started to use the same kind of device. Last year we started facing some problems with tyre temperature – too low – so it made no sense to keep using the device because it was actually increasing problems.”
Aprilia technical director Romano Albesiano doesn’t agree and – like pretty much everyone else in pit lane – believes the primary purpose of the swinglet has always been to increase rear downforce, not cool the tyre.
“Our experience and data tells us that you can never cool the rear tyre enough, especially here,” said Albesiano at baking-hot Mandalika. “But there are some situations where you may need to warm up the tyre more quickly, like in qualifying
“According to our aero concept we need the device for [rear] downforce in braking. The first purpose of this device is to be a wing, to create downforce. The secondary effect is to cool the tyre, which is another positive.”
Nakagami goes his own way with different RC213V frame
Different frames for different folk: Espargaró’s and Nakagami’s 2022 RC213Vs
Honda’s totally redesigned 2022 RC213V is still very much a brand-new motorcycle, after less than five days 2022 pre-season testing and one dry race. Marc Márquez, team-mate Pol Espargaró and younger brother Alex Márquez all use the same type of RC213V chassis, but Takaaki Nakagami has gone his own way with a visibly different chassis spec.
The main beams of his frame are deeper, but of course that doesn’t mean much, because we don’t know wfhat’s going on behind the outer section of each beam.
“I know the other Honda guys use different chassis but during testing I tested the two specs many times back-to-back,” says the Japanese rider, who is still chasing his first premier-class podium. “The one I use is a bit less stiff, a bit softer, it just works better for my feeling – and I believe my feeling.”
Nakagami scored a top-ten finish at the season-opening race in Qatar but qualified at the back of the grid in Indonesia, his RC213V struggling with Michelin’s 2017-spec rear slick casing that also caused problems for several riders.
HRC is always good at the details
The front of Pol Espargaró’s RC213V
Honda’s new RC213V definitely wins the best-looking air-intake award of 2022. The RC213V’s carbon-fibre fairing features different carbon-fibre weaves, not for aesthetics or airflow but simply to add strength where needed and reduce weight where possible.