Sylvain Guintoli has been disqualified for the FP1 and FP2 sessions of the Motegi MotoGP round, after having been found to have used an illegal spec of engine.
As a result, all of his times set in FP1 and FP2 have been scrapped, and Guintoli listed as having set no time. Guintoli does still qualify for Q1, having set a time within 107% of the fastest rider in FP3.
The punishment came after Sylvain Guintoli used a prototype of the 2020 Suzuki GSX-RR during his third wildcard appearance.
That is in contravention of the rules, specifically rule 18.104.22.168, which states that wildcards must abide by the engine specification rules that apply to all manufacturers.
In the case of Suzuki, which is not a concessions team, and so is not allowed to change engine specifications during the season, this means that Guintoli is bound to use the same specification of engine for the whole 2019 season.
But there is some ambiguity in the rules, especially as they apply to wildcards. Each manufacturer is also allowed to run three different engine specifications in each season, to allow them to supply satellite teams with different engine specs to the factory squad.
And, wildcard riders are allowed to use three engines of the same specification at each race, effectively freeing them from the restrictions on the number of engines used by full-time riders in the season. If this had happened last year, Guintoli would not have been punished.
Suzuki was a so-called concessions team during the 2018 season, after failing to score a single podium through 2017. That allowed Guintoli as a wildcard to use different engine specs throughout 2018.
But, after their successful season in 2018, where Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone scored 9 podiums between them, Suzuki lost their concessions and were stuck with a single-engine specification for the entire season, for each rider.
The punishment for Suzuki is not because they used a 2020-spec engine, but because the engine spec differs from the one used by Guintoli earlier in the season.
If the same thing had happened to Aprilia or KTM, for example, they would not have been punished, as they are allowed to change engine specs as concession teams.
Source: FIM; Photo: Suzuki Racing