Following the statement issued by the Airwaves Ducati team after it was informed that the Ducati 1098R is to given a ten kilo weight penalty by Bennetts British Superbike Championship officials, contacted team boss Colin Wright to get the latest on whether or not the team will run at Donington Park this weekend...
Colin, can you give us an update regarding Donington?

Colin Wright:
Nothing has changed at this minute.

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As Darrell said, we are investigating the possibility of how and where to fit the weight. The problem is that nobody - Ducati or the factory team - has tested the bike with this sort of weight added and therefore we can't guarantee the safety of either the parts fitted or the weight fitted and we don't know about the stability of the bike, the brakes, or whether it is going to stress the engine more.

The bottom line is that, had we had known this was a possibility, we would have tested it and would have known what any possible problems would be. In other forms of motorsport they add weight but the teams know it is going to happen and they test it.
MCRCB said that the rules would be under periodic review during the year so do you know how it was decided that the 1098 had an advantage? Is there a system in place like in WSBK?

Colin Wright:
No there is no system.
So do you know how it was decided you had an advantage?

Colin Wright:
I can only assume it is following a conversation between the MCRCB and MSVR board. I've done the sums myself and having used the World Superbike system, we worked it out as 2.17 points difference.
So there would have been no need for a change with that system...

Colin Wright:
Like Darrell said in the press release, he questioned had Cal not fallen off at Oulton Park and been 44 points behind Shane, would they have made the same decision? I think the answer is probably not.
Six kilos is the current difference between twins and fours in WSBK, do you know where this ten kilo figure for BSB has come from?

Colin Wright:
Not at all. The one thing we do know, because Ducati have tested it, is what the bike would perform like and what the set-up would be at 171 or 172 kilos - whatever it is. We would be happy to do it. The real truth is that they want to convince the other manufacturers that by bringing their RPM down, they aren't going to lose out to the Ducati.
So you think that is the trade off they are trying to sell to them?

Colin Wright:
Yeah and they'd rather keep the rest of the paddock happy instead of us. They have to keep the majority happy at the end of the day I suppose.
Related to this is the situation where the four-cylinder guys appear to be saying they are stressing their engines to keep up with you and therefore they have slowed you down with the weight.

Colin Wright:
I think this is an argument they are using but, again like Darrell said, in October last year, we were asking for some leniency on pistons and all bar none objected to it. Now six months later, they are asking for it.
So it's a bit of a u-turn?

Colin Wright:
Very much so.
Missing Donington could have a big impact on Shane Byrne's title bid. How do you feel about that and how does he feel about the situation if you have to miss it?

Colin Wright:
We entered the championship with the intention of winning it. That is our job and is what we are paid to do. I really can't answer that yet as right at this moment but lets put it this way. I've heard it from Stuart Higgs directly and he said they are not going to reconsider the immediate introduction of the rule and we cannot possibly test and confirm that everything on the bike with this additional weight will be safe.

Therefore, like Darrell said, on the grounds of safety, we cannot be there.
There is no way out then in terms of this weekend and no way of finding a compromise?

Colin Wright:
At this late stage, no - I don't think there is. The two main points really are that we are being penalised for being successful and the other teams are putting pressure on the organisers to do something about the gap. The gap has been caused by us doing our job, and others not doing theirs.
Shakey and Leon have finished every race haven't they?

Colin Wright:
And so has James Ellison which is why he is ahead of Leon Haslam in the standings. So has Stuart Easton which is why he is ahead of some quality riders. Those four guys have finished every race and okay, there is a difference between Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton as far as experience and everything else is concerned, but nevertheless, Stuart and Kawasawki - and Nick Morgan in particular - started off the season publically saying that they wouldn't be tuning the engine because he believed the best way to attack this year was to have consistency and get good results from the tyres.

That is they have done and it means Stuart is equal on points with Michael Laverty and three points ahead of Tom Sykes. That in itself speaks volumes as far as I am concerned. Okay he only has 52 points, but he is scoring on average eight or nine points a round. If he continues that way, he will be in the top six at the end of the year. James Ellison is probably scoring ten or twelve points a round and will be in the top four if he continues. The point of any championship is to be consistent and score points and you'll be there at the end.
This ability to add the weight sounds like it has come as a shock to you guys. Did you expect a penalty during the year?

Colin Wright:
Like I say, there is no provision in the rules to penalise a team that is doing well. Whilst I accept that the rules are new for this year and would need some fine-tuning, I don't see adding ten kilos to the Ducati as fine-tuning.

Cal Crutchlow crashed in the first race at Oulton and finished sixth to get ten points and then crashed in the second race while leading and lost 25 points. If he had scored in those two races he would be four points behind Shane - would they have still given us a penalty then?

Whether they should or shouldn't have given it and whether we knew or we didn't know isn't the argument. The argument is purely that on the grounds of safety, we cannot jeopardise our riders or any others for that matter. If you bolt five bags of sugar onto a bike which is basically what we are being asked to do, you potentially could have problems. That is what we aren't prepared to put ourselves through.

Is someone at the MCRCB going to take responsibility for what we do by adding this ten kilos? A good example would the camera falling from Casey Stoner's bike - that could have been fatal. Whose responsibility was that? Was it the guy who fitted the camera? Was it the mechanic who let the bike go out as it did? Was it the organisers for insisting they had to have a camera fitted? Was it the team for letting them fit a camera? It goes on and on.

The bottom line is that we are responsible to our riders and people will say 'bolt it on and let them ride'. But if something happens that causes a problem to our riders or others and a ten kilo lump of lead comes off and hits someone, it will be serious. All the other politics behind it is irrelevant now - it is safety that is our main concern.

NB: has also attempted to contact the MCRCB for it's response, but they are currently unavailable for comment.