MotoGP: Rossi and Yamaha try out ‘winglet’ fairing design

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While MotoGP may have placed a ban on aerodynamic winglets for the 2017 season, it seems that some manufacturers have found a way around the new veto – with Valentino Rossi testing a new fairing today at the Sepang test that incorporates them internally into it.

The new design, first trialled yesterday by Yamaha test rider Kouta Nozane, uses a second skin design on the side panels of the bike, with the winglets built in between both layers to both allow airflow over them while still keeping them within the rules on the winglets sticking out from the bike.

Multiple riders have bemoaned the loss of the winglets in recent days, with Andrea Dovizioso saying last week at the Ducati team launch that riding without the devices after their ban for safety reasons had in fact made racing more dangerous rather than less.

“We have to adapt the balance of the bike and the setup of the electronics with no winglets. I did a comparison test at Valencia and the difference was very big. The biggest difference is safety, and nobody really understood that. In the last two years, everybody has increased the downforce with the winglets, and it came step-by-step with a lot of downforce.

“Now the biggest change is when you’ve got a lot of angle and you open a big handful of throttle it starts to wheelie. With the winglets that didn’t happen, but at Valencia from the test there was a lot of black lines almost at the finish line from where the front wheel touched down. If you check the metres from the last corner to the finish line it’s a long way.”

Ducati have been the biggest proponents of the introduction of more advanced aerodynamics into the sport, and are believed to have a newly designed fairing of their own in the bag that may only be unveiled as late as the first round of the championship at Qatar next month.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer