Ducati has pioneered the anti-wheelie technology since the introduction of a rear holeshot system (for the race start) at the beginning of 2019. That evolved into a repeatable rear ‘ride-height device’ for use on corner exit, followed by an additional front holeshot device.
By the end of 2021 the five other MotoGP manufacturers had all developed their own versions of those systems.
But this winter saw Ducati take the next step by converting its front holeshot system into a full ride-height device, offering the ability to lower in partnership with the rear on corner exit.
It was a predictable move, given the previous evolution from holeshot to ride-height for the rear, but Jarvis said the other manufacturers feel the devices have now gone too far.
“Five of the six manufacturers are very much in agreement when it comes to this problem with the ride height device,” Jarvis told Speedweek.com. “Ducati is the factory that has been using the front ride height device this season. Alles [the rest] are in favor of not using this system.”
The Englishman said the other five factories are against the system due to the increase in top speed, development costs and rider safety, in terms of additional controls needed on the already crowded handlebars.
“And does [the ride-height device] really make the show better? I doubt it,” Jarvis said. “It’s definitely getting more complicated. More things can then go wrong, more devices have to be operated by the riders
“For reasons of safety, the reduction of speed and costs, we do not endorse the new device.”
Ducati naturally disagrees with those points, with no accident known to have occurred due to a ride-height system, other specialized items such as seamless gearboxes also increasing top speed, and having already spent the time and money that its rivals now want to save.
“We’ll see what comes out of these discussions in the MSMA and the GPC,” Jarvis said, before appearing to suggest a ban would pinpoint only the front of the bike:
“I think the decision on the front ride-height device will be made before the end of the Mandalika GP weekend. The sooner that happens the better, so we know which way to go.”
At the forefront of most recent MotoGP innovations, Ducati’s previous technical battles ended with a clampdown on the size, shape and number of updates for aerodynamic wings, but ‘victory’ in terms of the legality of its rear swingarm spoiler.
Due to MotoGP’s long-standing ban on electronically adjustable suspension, the current holeshot and ride-height devices consist only of mechanical and hydraulic components.
The most advanced systems operate at the push of a button on the way into a corner, before lowering the rear (or front and rear in Ducati’s case) automatically on the exit.
It remains to be seen if all holeshot/ride-height devices will be banned, and if so from when. Or if – like wings – they will be restricted in terms of future use.
If the lack of unanimous agreement between the manufacturers (MSMA) continues, the other Grand Prix Commission (GPC) members – Dorna, IRTA and FIM, who usually vote as one – may ultimately have the final say on the fate of ride-height devices .