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Is Ducati Suffering Most From the New Rule Banning Wings?

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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  1. mickey says:

    Don’t know if you have seen the pics from Qatar, but Ducati has gone from wings to hammerheads. Talk about ugly but Dovi says it works

  2. Gutterslob says:

    Meh, it’s Ducati. Just make sure you don’t let them sneak some displacement in there while distracting you with winglet talk, Dorna.

    • Pacer says:

      +1. One of their biggest racing innovations.

    • Dave says:

      They don’t sneak it in there. They say, “give it to us, or we’re taking our ball and going home.”, which by now that Ducati has SO many bikes on the MotoGP grid, would be a very legitimate threat.

      I suppose they’d have to make the case that they were down on HP. That might be difficult..

  3. Vrooom says:

    Most people are presuming this is a problem that will not be fixed by the manufacturers. I’m holding my judgment till the times are available to compare from a few tracks. A lot of manufacturers are putting the wings inside the fairing, but can’t say how effective that is.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Most people are presuming this is a problem that will not be fixed by the manufacturers”.

      close, most people are presuming this is a problem that will not be fixed by…

      (wait for it)


      “dearly beloveds” lest we forget the reason we are all gathered here today is because Bridgestone is no longer the supplier of record.

  4. CrazyJoe says:

    Can aerodynamic features be useful off the track? Besides for getting better mpg could the be used for better stability on a windy day or just nomal driving. I’m imagining a much more expensive bike with servo activated winglets but would it be worth having? If it works on the track at least w

  5. Neil says:

    Casey Stoner? He did crash a lot for a while there. I think his answer was to run full on into the corners, slam on the brakes late, get full on the gas with as little electronics as possible, and just get the heck out of there. He practiced on a Honda 100 in his back yard with a couple of Rottweilers chasing him.

  6. Norm G. says:

    Q: Makes this season all the more interesting, doesn’t it?

    A: meh.

  7. Dave Joy says:

    When you think about it, all we need as a Moto GP audience is excitement! As long as the engine capacity is the same across the board let the engineers and designers go to town! As another writer commented “these are all basically prototype machines” so let’s see what the manufacturers can do to make the art of motorcycles and motorcycle racing as exciting as it can possibly be.

    • Mick says:

      That would of course mean the return of two strokes and my interest in the series. I’ve not watched a single road racing event since the banning of the two stroke. The same goes for motocross really.

      1000cc two strokes would be sweet. They wouldn’t need to be in a much higher state of tune than the current 250 dirt bikes. Less so than the 125 dirt bikes.

  8. Martin says:

    I think there are too many rules; let the giants go to town and see who wins, let them do all they can to make the bikes as fast as riders can ride them. These are prototype motorcycles, reserved for the elite. It’s not unprecedented; who here owns a formula one car? Production development is served in SBK; GP should be about cutting edge. If Rea can run his tricked-out Kawasaki street bike close to GP lap times, MotoGP is falling behind. Time for some fresh thinking at Dorna.

    • Dino says:

      Rules are meant to bring costs down, level the parking field, and encourage more participation in the racing circuit. That only benefits Dorna racing.
      Let the prototypes race with their innovation, and the whole industry leaps forward. We all win, not just Dorna shareholders.

    • Dave says:

      Re: “I think there are too many rules; let the giants go to town and see who wins..”

      We’ve been to this movie before. Costs spiral upwards, sponsors leave and you’re left with nearly empty grids and 10 bikes circling a gigantic track while only 2-3 have any chance of winning so in reality, nobody wins.

      It plays out that way Every. Single. Time.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “We’ve been to this movie before”

        lemmee help, the proper wording is…

        “we’ve seen this movie”. (fullstop)

  9. Buzz says:

    I wish the aero rules would be totally open.

    Motorcycles are still in the dark ages aerodynamically.

    This is the final frontier for racing.

    • Pacer says:

      They are still allowing them to mess with the areo, just has to be in the fairings for safety reasons.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “They are still allowing them to mess with the (aero) just has to be in the fairings for safety reasons…”

        …effectively rendering it USELESS for the problems they hope to solve.

        though it will sure be interesting “visually” and in terms of talking points but of course, what’s better’n that…?

        A: nothing.

        • Pacer says:

          2 things Norm. First you forgot to ask the “Q”, and correcting my spelling. With that one your just trying to embarrass me in front of my friends.

          You bring up a good point. Will the new fairing be effective?

          • Norm G. says:

            Q: You bring up a good point. Will the new fairing be effective?

            A: not so much.

            for aerodynamics to work you need either 1 of 2 things, A: surface area…? or B: air velocity…? unfortunately, under this new mandate a designer will have neither.

            this is why we saw Ducati keep adding more and more (AND MORE) elements to their design, finally ending up with something akin to a wonky “bi-plane” configuration. personally I though it looked cool, but what they were doing was adding SURFACE AREA because they didn’t have enough air velocity to “activate” the system.

            now if anybody DOES create something effective…? the nature of aerodynamics dictates that whatever we ended up seeing will prolly have an upper that mimics the look of a HAMMERHEAD SHARK…? combined with side fairings that pay homage to the Suzuki RF900 circa 1995. (yup, you just got a visual)

          • Pacer says:

            Everyone one will be running concave windscreens. Kind of likely. Lol

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “Everyone one will be running concave windscreens”

            see, there ya go, now that’s thinking with your dipstick… (Jimmy)


          • Dave says:

            Re”B: air velocity…?”

            There’s plenty of that. These bikes go down the straightaway much faster than the speeds that aircraft take off & land. Have a look at the Piaggio Avanit’s design. They claim something like 20% of the lift comes from the fuselage. Ducati just has to figure out something that fits within the rules.

  10. Mike Johnson says:

    Any 90 degree V will have front to rear balance problems and the shorter and lighter you make the bike as you increase the power to the rear wheel the worse the problems are. If you move the engine forward assuming there is room spin at the rear wheel from too much power increases and speed is lost. If you cannot move the engine forward the front end is too light and a violent speed wobble may -MAY-occur. If you increase the weight of the bike acceleration is lost. The only thing that might work is to increase swing arm length by increments and try to find a better balance point though the same trade-offs are involved.
    Basic problem is an L-90 engine is a sub optimal choice UNLESS you wanted to turn it transversely Guzzi style. Essential problem is the weight bias of the rear cyl to the rear tire. Ducati needs wings to save the engine design or go to an inline transverse 2,3,4 cylinder engine if wings ruled out of order. Larger wings would actually be very interesting though drag is a kind of weigh in acceleration terms but you could move the engine back for traction or limit rear wheel horsepower. For reasons of Physics a bicycle with giant engine in it is a really poor unsafe idea. Two front wheels absolutely worth trying.

    • xLaYN says:

      Nice comment.
      Why would you say for example Honda has been remarkably better using the same engine configuration?

      • Neil says:

        Exactly. Honda is doing it. But Marquez is Stoneresque. He is a genie in the corners, and, we saw him crash a lot too trying to stuff it through the corners. VFR guys were famously saying that bike was hard to turn in the 90’s. Fogerty won on it but he liked the Duc twin better in the end.

      • Norm G. says:

        Q: Why would you say Honda has been remarkably better using the same engine configuration?

        BETTER Q: why would you say DUCATI has won 28 titles using 16 different riders across 3 championships using this overly long, “sub optimal” 90L configuration all the while running the additional so called “disadvantages” of an inconsistent trellis mated to an SSS-arm…?

        how DOOOO they do it…?

        • PatrickD says:

          A 33% capacity advantage had alot to do with a high proportion of those titles.
          20% isn’t cutting it these days….

          • Norm G. says:

            fish on…!!! (someone takes the bait)

            re: “A 33% capacity advantage had alot to do with a high proportion of those titles”

            Q: but wait, how can a person speak of so called “advantages” while conspicuously disregarding all the aforementioned “disadvantages” and hope to ever be seen as “clear thinking” and “rational” in the conversation…?

            A: they can’t.

            hint, if you have both advantages and DIS-advantages present within the SAME system, then said DIS-advantages invariable cancel out said advantages. the final resultant is what’s known as a “ZERO SUM GAME”.

            see what happened is, while we humans are always good for a LIE (or 3) the under-“lying” Math is NOT.

            (get it, “lie”, under-“lying”, see what I did there…?)

          • Dave says:

            When has Ducati ever had a 33% displacement advantage? (the WSBK Ducatis are currently 1198cc, not 1299).

            In 2011, Carlos Checca enjoyed a whopping 98cc advantage, as have all Ducati riders between 2005 and 2011. Bayliss dominated on a 999cc bike, against I4’s of the same displacement.

          • Norm G. says:

            re: “In 2011, Carlos Checca enjoyed a whopping 98cc advantage”

            careful, Ducati will “scam” you every time with their nomenclature. lol Chubb’s 1098R (RS11) is/was 1200cc’s, cheeky buggers.

            re: “as have all Ducati riders between 2005 and 2011”

            easy easy, ’05-’06 was still the triple-9 era. the redesign dropped for M.Y. ’07, but the R didn’t homologate till ’08. however (comma) Canepa DID race an 1100cc S model in World Superstock winning that title in it’s debut year.

            re: “Bayliss dominated on a 999cc bike, against I4’s of the same displacement”

            as did Lavilla in BSB, see Dave gets it.

    • guu says:

      “Basic problem is X is a sub optimal choice” And that is the definition of engineering for you.

  11. hh says:

    Add or subtract wings, ahh, that’s the difference between winning and off the podium. But don’t be fooled. The real secret is the paint, special paint that slips thru the wind. Or is it the chant. If a rider chants the right phrase while riding he can go faster; any sports competitor knows that. Teach JLo to say “credo che posso” and the results will follow.

    • Vrooom says:

      I always thought it was “Klatu Verata Netai”, though my spelling is probably off.

  12. Pacer says:

    Judging by the size of the wings they used, this shouldn’t be a suprise.

  13. mickey says:

    I for one can’t wait for March 26 no matter what kind of fairings they roll out

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