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Aerodynamic Innovation by Yamaha MotoGP Will Survive Ban on “Wings”

Last year’s M1 fairing on left, and new fairing incorporating fins on right.

We reported earlier on the MotoGP rule banning “wings” for 2017. The operative language prohibits the following:  “Devices or shapes protruding from the fairing or bodywork and not integrated in the body streamlining (eg wings, fins, bulges, etc.) that may provide an aerodynamic effect.”

At the recently concluded Sepang test, Yamaha riders debuted a fairing design with integrated fins providing aerodynamic downforce (see photo above). Is it legal? Will Yamaha be permitted to use it this year? The answer to both questions is “yes”.

The person charged with that decision is MotoGP techincal director Danny Aldridge, who was quoted earlier today in the press stating “To use the Yamaha example, for me it’s allowed because – although the rules say ‘no bulges’ – the reason I don’t class it as a ‘bulge’ is because it’s a continuous curve, with a similar radius from the top to the bottom. There’s no real variation in the angle of the curve. Safety wise, it’s perfect. There’s no issue at all. What we don’t want is things coming out of the fairing at 90-degree angles or with any sudden changes in radius.”

Other manufacturers are expected to incorporate aerodynamic features into their new fairings. Don’t expect to see the final versions of these designs before the first race at Qatar in late March.


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41 Comments

  1. Artem says:

    The fairing is not that slim.
    May be it will depend on circuit.

    • Artem says:

      Are the any rules that determine the fairing have to be the same on every circuit of championship?

  2. Frank says:

    Fascinating.

  3. Mick says:

    Finally they have found a way to market MotoGP to obese Americans!

  4. Vrooom says:

    I’m guessing the affect of that thing is pretty small, but even a few hundredths of a second is worthwhile.

  5. joe b says:

    One feature of the Britten, was its radiator under the seat, exited hot air rear and upward improving aerodynamics. Interesting to see how it all works out this year, spy photos will be our only key to what is being used, tested.

  6. Norm G. says:

    okay this is what they meant by the “FAT” Yamahas in testing. this is a waste of time and energy (literally). whatever marginal increase in downforce this gives will be MORE than offset by an exponential increase in drag. I doubt that the elements even work as they aren’t out in “clean air” as the F1 aerodynamicists would say…? i mean if this works…? then the ram inlet feeding air to the throttle bodies at the nose of the bike would’ve already BEEN working (and providing a 2 for 1 benefit).

    no, this might just a “psyche job” being pulled on the rest of the paddock. i’m going to go out on a limb and say no Japanese engineer at Yamaha or Honda worth his or her degree will DARE ask a rider to run this when the lights go out.

    • Norm G. says:

      oh yeah, here’s an idea from “bizzarro world” for the various and sundry lay people to wrap their collective heads around…?

      Michelin could always just stop screwing the pooch and construct better front tyres…!? (OMG)

      I know I know, CRAZY TALK…!!!

    • jimmihaffa says:

      You clearly ignore the RASCAL (Rider Assisted Selective Control of Aerodynamic Leverage) principle, Norm. This platform is by strategic engineering design recognizing the utility of racer selected riding mode depending on “speed” track versus “corner-to-corner” racing strategy, the latter favoring the application of dirty little RASCAL.

    • Tom R says:

      In which wind tunnel did you conduct your testing Norm?

  7. Stuki Moi says:

    Every little microsecond counts at that level… But man, that’s slicing the hairstrand thin….

    Aerofoil shaped petals on the brake disks and spokes, turning them into little propellers at GP speeds would seem more effective than this…

  8. dt 175 says:

    My friend xt 600 e has those…

  9. Provologna says:

    “Is that an aerodynamic effect in your fairing (bulge) or are you just happy to see me?”
    Motorcycle racer M. West

  10. wjf says:

    So….they don’t want anything sticking out of the bike, we will assume so it doesn’t impale the rider in a crash? It seems like plastic winglets may be less problematic vs. a foot peg or handle bar….but who knows

    • Random says:

      I imagine that’s not simple plastic, to transfer downforce they may need to be somewhat rigid, hence (in MotoGP) carbon fiber.

  11. Dave says:

    Re: “Other manufacturers are expected to incorporate aerodynamic features into their new fairings.”

    This statement reads as though the teams weren’t already incorporating aerodynamics into their fairing designs, helmets, and racing suits.

    I see this as Yamaha taking a page out of the endurance auto racing book. What I don’t understand is where on the track this provides real benefit? Is this wheelie assist from 150-200mph?

    • jabe says:

      In regards to the wheelie assist, it was explained to me that the winglets were put in place for exactly that. Under acceleration the winglets would provide some down force and therefore the electronic interference wheelie control (whatever it is called) would not shut power down as much and allow the bike better acceleration. Now at what speed do these winglets become effective I do not know.

  12. Tyg says:

    As far as I can tell, there are downforce-generating fins *inside* the fairing – there’s a double-walled portion which IMO bulges (if you didn’t have the fins, the fairing could be considerably narrower – like last year’s on the left.
    Compare the two pictures, as the caption says, the left is last year’s, the right is this year’s with fins.

  13. Jeremy in TX says:

    I think we all saw this coming, though I expected Ducati to begin testing variations of the theme right out of the box

  14. LordBeal says:

    It’s part of the radiator shroud. A double walled shroud.

    • blitz11 says:

      My Super Terene has a similar fairing bulge a nice example of technology trickling up. Who would have thought that ADV technology is influencing MotoGP design?

  15. Jorge Lorenzo says:

    These will do nothing to help Yamaha. Ducati will still be stronger!

  16. goodlyRun says:

    To be honest, I don’t even see it.
    Anyone?

    • Jim S says:

      Exactly!! But then again…are you kidding? I can’t tell.
      Anyone?

      • David says:

        It took me a while to see it. Follow the front brake line on the right photo. From this perspective, there is an “air scoop” behind the apex of the bend in the front brake line. This air scoop is not present in the bike on the left. I think this air scoop could provide downforce by interacting with the air that passes through it.

        • johnny says:

          Look again…the same scoop is on last year’s bike as well. It’s there to cool the brake caliper.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Look inside of the fairing as opposed to outside of it like you might expect. Looks like a tuna fin.

    • Scott says:

      Seriously?

      • Jim S says:

        Thank you Scott. I was not being serious, its completely obvious. Didn’t realize I would start a series of explanations. My bad.

    • Grover says:

      It’s like trying to find Waldo on the back of the cereal box…if you look long enough you’ll finally see it!😊