MotoGP: Suzuki and Aprilia roll out new winglet design

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Suzuki and Aprilia have become the latest MotoGP manufacturers to roll out a newly designed aerodynamic package as they try to skirt rules banning winglets for the 2017 season, with unusually designed fairings appearing on their machines today at Phillip Island.

Yamaha were the first to attempt such a feat last time out in Sepang, rolling out a new fairing that uses a second skin on the side of the bike to conceal the winglets, used to aid downforce on the front wheel and prevent wheelies.

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However, the approach taken by their fellow Japanese factory and unveiled today at the Australian track is slightly different, instead adding a lip of extra fairing around the front of the bike to help conceal the winglets, removing the possibility of them catching on another rider – the reason they were banned at the end of 2016.

And speaking afterwards, rookie signing Alex Rins says that despite the new wings having considerably less surface area than the old ones (and consequentially creating less downforce) they still have an effect on the bike.

“I tried it for the last two exits, and I’m happy to see Suzuki working hard to improve the bike. The conclusions are not really clear yet, because I only made ten laps with it, but for sure I feel different. We need to check if we’re losing time or gaining, but I felt less wheelie with them.”

It’s believed that the other factories will also follow the route taken by Yamaha, Suzuki and Aprilia, with aerodynamics pioneers Ducati believed to have something up their sleeves for the first race in Qatar next month.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer