Nakagami Disqualification - Team Had Used Filter Since 2012 Without Comment

The Idemistu Honda Team Asia today issued a press release with a clarification on Takaaki Nakagami's disqualification after the Moto2 race at Losail. Nakagami's Kalex was found to be fitted with an illegal air filter during a technical inspection, as Race Director Mike Webb explained to the website. Webb acknowledged that the error was entirely unintentional, and was a result of misinterpreting the technical rules.

Tady Okada, the former 500GP racer winner who now runs Idemitsu Team Asia, explained in the press release that they had failed to interpret the rules correctly. At the time the team took part in the first test, at the end of 2012, the foam air filter which is part of the HRC race kit was legal. The team fitted this part for testing, and continued to use the part throughout the 2013 season and the first race of 2014. However, for the 2013 season, the use of a standard paper filter was made compulsory, and the use of the foam filter was banned.

The team's use of the foam filter went undetected in 2013, as neither Yuki Takahashi nor the man brought in to replace him, Aslan Shah, managed to score any points. When Takaaki Nakagami got on the podium during his first outing of the season, his bike was subjected to an automatic inspection by the technical scrutineers. The use of the filter was spotted immediately, and an automatic disqualification followed, the rules leaving no room for interpretation. ' In technical issues it’s black and white, it either passes the test or it doesn’t, and it didn’t pass, it’s not within the specification so there is no choice. It’s disqualification,' Mike Webb told

The team accepted the disqualification, but in the press release, they say their confusion stems in part from the wording of the rules, and the diagrams used to explain them. The diagrams issued by IRTA, the team claims, come from the papers supplied with the HRC race kit. The team believed that this meant use of the HRC race kit and foam filter was therefore still legal.

The press release issued by Idemitsu Honda Team Asia is show below:

Usage of a non-regulation air intake system at the opening round in Qatar

To those concerned,

The opening round of the 2014 Moto2 World Championship was held in Qatar on March 23 in 2014.

The team, under new team structure, has started out a great start since the winter tests at Valencia and Jerez in Spain on February to set out a victory at the first Grand Prix in Qatar.

The team, which established last year, has earned a pleasing first ever Championship points and the second place. But after the race a technical control detected Nakagami’s bike the use of a non-regulation air intake system. Then the team has been handed Nakagami’s disqualification.

We sincerely apologize for this consequence for Sponsors, our supporter and fans.

The statement which has been pointed, the team conflict with the breach FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations (Airbox: Only the standard airbox supplied by the official Supplier (including air filter and secondary injectors) may be used. No modifications, alterations or additions to this airbox is allowed, expect as described in Art below). The fact is the team has used a Race kit (a sponge type air filter) which is sold by Honda Racing Corporation instead of an air filter of the air filter of the production machine Honda CBR600RR.

The team acknowledged that the sponge type of air filter from HRC Race kit was allowed to use according to the information International Racing Team Association (See following page within the framework of red).

The team followed the decision of the Race Direction to obliged to use the standard airbox supplied.

However, this regulation and the information from IRTA are conflicting and difficult to comprehend. Therefore, the team will suggest to ITRA to provide teams an understandable information.

The whole team staff work will make concerned effort. We would appreciate for your continued support.

Information from IRTA and its ART

According to FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix Regulations, the airbox supplied by IRTA which may be used (See Art.1 and Art.2 in the framework of red).

Art.1: Diagram of the HondaCBR600RR air cleaner box


Art.2: Race kit parts (Art.1 in the framework of red) IRTA use the diagram of HRC Race kit parts



  • HRC air cleaner of the HRC Race kit parts is a sponge type.
  • Supplied product according to the Race regulations is a paper type of Honda CBR600RR


Art.3: The parts (Air filter) which was pointed -> Same diagram with Art.2

Context of the misunderstanding of the team

Arise from a lack of regulations understanding

  • The regulations define to obliged to use a paper type air cleaner box form 2013.
  • The team continued to use the HRC Race kit since tests in the end of 2012, at the time of the inauguration of the team.

Lack of the information from IRTA

  • Replaced to Race Kit seems to allow to use HRC Race kit and the team in fact used.
  • The diagram which IRTA used (Diagram from HRC Race kit) caused to bring about the mess.
  • There is no parts number indication.

Suggestion to IRTA from the team

  • The team will suggest to IRTA to add to write about description within the framework in red that ONLY air funnel is allowed to replace and write about parts number.

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That was a HUGE mistake. To take 20 points from a rider in a championship so hotly contested.... Could be a deciding factor. It's still very early, but I feel for Taka.

The team did not read the rules..... when foam filters are banned and paper filters have to be used, and you don't, you are dq. Clear, simpel.... like David said, Technical rules are black or white, it are the teams who create "the grey area".

I believe they read them well and hoped w a bit of optimism that this would pan out in their favor a while back then moved on to other considerations. Funny, when I raced we had a airbox modification circus quite alike this but with the added intrigue that another rider had to lodge a complaint to get a bike torn down for inspection. EVERYONE was running this hogged out airbox mod as it was clearly how the bike should be set up for racing, but in suspersport it was not allowed in the rulebook. One guy filed a protest vs the class leader, got a handful of pts out of it for one round, but became the a-hole that ended everyone's ability to run a preferred set up we were all doing. Felt like being handed out speeding tickets for going 56mph on the fwy.
Anyhoo, teams are supposed to work any grey area in the rules, it is called innovation when it is light grey and is emulated. There is 'letter of the law' and 'spirit of the rules' AND 'what you can manage to get away with.' Then when the following year's rules are drafted up they either are modified to allow the 'innovation' or buttoned up to exclude the 'infraction.'

That's not possible to appeal, it may be somewhat harsh on the rider but here the blame goes to the team, if he loses the WC by those points , now that will hurt. :(

Unless Nakagami dominates and is fairly consistent this year, it will be a pain in the ass to lose the title because of this penalty, ...If it comes down to those 20.

when it come to situations like this, I personally believe race organizers/governing bodies need to do a better job in terms making each and every rule that goes into the book clear because too many times we're seeing situations where teams are making innocent mistakes and being wrongly punished for it. I point to the current situation in F1 where RB had one of their drivers disqualified over the use of a fuel sensor they thought was within the rules.

All bikes are inspected before every race, but there isn't a full strip down of every bike, as there simply isn't enough time. Bikes are selected at random, and the podium bikes are inspected, to ensure that cheating does not materially affect the outcome of the race. With limited resources, the focus is on ensuring that the results of the race are as fair as possible.

Should this have been caught earlier? Absolutely. But the fact that neither Takahashi nor Shah scored a point on the bike means that it had little or no outcome on the results, and zero outcome in the championship. It would be much, much worse if this was missed on a bike which had scored championship points or even podiums.


Clearly Dorna / IRTA / FIM need to sort out their rule documentation so it is readable and Race Direction need to inspect bikes more often.

The FIM in particular need to pull their finger out. They should be the ones writing the rule book, not IRTA. What do the FIM actually do for their presumably large salaries?

I agree, it's not like they fitted a turbo or stroked the engine, they replaced the air filter. I feel like this is robbing the series of the little innovation they have left. I know spec parts make for close racing, but if it was just about close racing then we could just give them a CBR600RR from the local dealer and tell them to go race them.