18 Mar, 2017
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MotoGP: Ducati fairing may lead Aprilia back to drawing board

Racing manager Romano Albesiano feels Aprilia’s aerodynamics design “was the most fair to the rules, the spirit”; Ducati’s ‘radical’ fairing may change factory's approach.

MotoGP: Ducati fairing may lead Aprilia back to drawing board
MotoGP: Ducati fairing may lead Aprilia back to drawing board
The manager for Aprilia's MotoGP operation has suggested the Noale factory may return to the drawing board when assessing its aerodynamics update for the 2017 season, after seeing Ducati's 'radical' design in Qatar.

Romano Albesiano was slightly taken aback by Ducati's 'hammerhead' fairing when it was unveiled on the second evening of the final preseason test. Until that moment, he did not believe “things like [that] are acceptable” in the newly worded rules for 2017.

Aprilia's new aerodynamics design, which was revealed on Aleix Espargaro's bike three weeks earlier at Phillip Island, was, in Albesiano's eyes, “the most fair, the more strict to the spirit” of the new rules, which state all MotoGP machines must contain the shape of a 'conventional' motorcycle.

Thus Albesiano, who has a background in aerodynamic development, believes Aprilia's development team may propose something more in line with Ducati's interpretation of the rules for their option of an updated fairing later in the year. "Now we know that we can go to this point, or maybe even more," he said.

“We made an interpretation of the rule that – sorry if I use the wrong word in English – was the most fair, the more strict to the rules, to the spirit. The spirit was to have a 'standard' fairing,” Albesiano told Crash.net in Qatar.

“Then inside this 'standard' fairing we make something to get more downforce, or some downforce. Yamaha and Honda made partially this because they applied something on the side.

“Ducati made something really far from what was our understanding of the rules. It's very difficult to set the rule which is exact. The rule says that the last judge is the technical director of the championship.

“The point is to understand exactly his interpretation. If we take that things like the Ducati [fairing] are acceptable, OK, now we know that we can go to this point, or maybe even more.

“But we tried to do something very, very, very similar to a conventional fairing and put the downforce inside. Then if you took our fairing and the Ducati fairing you can see that the Ducati fairing is a much more radical interpretation of the rule than ours, basically.”

The Ducati fairing, revealed in Qatar, that may lead to more radical Aprilia aerodynamics. (pic: Gold&Goose)

New rules mean manufacturers will have two fairings – one 'standard', one 'revised' – homologated before the first round of the 2017 season. One updated fairing can then be introduced through the course of the year.

Albesiano revealed the design tested by Espargaro at Phillip Island and Losail – one which he feels to be 'quite satisfactory' in recreating downforce previously provided by winglets - will more than likely be the first 'revised' option Aprilia has homologated before round one.

“We will test again the fairing that we already tested in Phillip Island,” he said on the final day of testing in Qatar. “We'll probably keep this as an option for the start of the season.

“So we'll have the 'classic' and this one. Then we'll see according to the different track characteristics.”

One of the factory representatives that was against the outright banning of external winglets in 2016, Albesiano feels limiting their shape, or the extent of which they protruded from the fairing, would have been a more sensible measure.

“Honestly, [they said,] 'most of the wings had dangerous shapes, dangerous edges, it was really dangerous…' OK, you could say they were dangerous. But there could have been a different approach, putting some rules about the shape of the wings.

“It would have been a much easier approach. We tried to bring this argument, but no. Nobody folds. And we end up with this 'funny' situation. OK, there's no more protruding parts potentially offending the rider or other riders. But it's going to be expensive.”

CLICK HERE to read Crash.net's exclusive interview with Romano Albesiano

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  • TrueFan 18 Mar, 2017 15:16:01
    ...Ducati ditches "factory" status. Dorna creates "factory 2" and then the majors all end up on the control ECU and software, and Ducati is able to make up enough ground to have two wins last year...

    Rules are rules. The spirit of the rules are that the first bike past the post after completing the race is the winner, as long as they've complied with the letter of the rules, or not been caught breaching them...

    The question is not whether his design is the most fair to the rules, the spirit, but simply...is this the fastest design we can have that will get past the Dorna gatekeepers?
  • TrueFan 18 Mar, 2017 15:07:41
    If you pay any heed to the history of this sport, the "spirit" of the rules won't get you anywhere.

    E.g. Honda built a "production racer" to sell to satellite teams inaccordance with the "spirit" of the rules. Yamaha read the words and decided to lease an older version of a full factory bike. Result, full factory Yamaha bike blitzes anemic Honda proddy... proddy racers disappear from MotoGP.
    MotoGP brings in engine design freezes and other restrictions to reduce the cost of MotoGP participation. (It doesn't do that). Ducati, having fallen behind due to a CEO that just wanted to sell the company is left playing impossible catch-up. Dorna wants to introduce a control ECU with control software...Ducati reads the rules and waits until the last moment to declare it will adopt the "open class" rules (control ECU and software...then provides its proprietary software for integration into the "open software" (that's how it works). ..cont
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