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.”
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