The truth is, we currently have no idea how the various MotoGP manufacturers stack up, performance wise, heading to the opening round at Qatar on March 26. Why? Because all of the manufacturers are still modifying, and testing, the aerodynamic aids they will incorporate into their fairings as a substitute for the ban on wings this season.
Aprilia is a good example, as their “unveiling” of their 2017 MotoGP bike yesterday showcased a fairing design that they will not use this year. The teams do not want to show high resolution images of their final aerodynamic solutions, so Aprilia trotted out a traditional-looking fairing instead.
Indeed, former champ Jorge Lorenzo’s relatively poor showing on his new Ducati at the recent Phillip Island test may be down to the removal of the prominent wings used by Ducati last year (see photo at top). In a recent interview, Ducati Corse General Director Gigi Dall’igna said as much: “We cannot be satisfied after tests like the one at Phillip Island … For the first time, the lack of winglets was felt much more than we had expected … The data collected tells us that the lack of load on the front is the main culprit for the problems we are having.”
Dall’igna pointed to the fact that teams are limited to two “aerodynamic developments during the season”, so “that is why we are taking our time” before finalizing our first design.
So expect all of the teams to have “new motorcycles” on the grid for the first race, at least in the sense that new aerodynamic forces will be in play. Makes this season all the more interesting, doesn’t it?
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