Motorcycle Racing

Aprilia reveals radical new aero concept for MotoGP at Portugal test

Aprilia Racing Team fork mounted wings

On Saturday at the Algarve International Circuit, Aprilia rolled out an RS-GP fitted with new wings on the front of the bike, as well as a downward wing on the swingarm and a t-wing on the rear of the seat unit.

One of the Noale-based company’s top engineering managers Marco de Luca, who is head of Aprilia Racing’s vehicle dynamics department, is the father of the idea and the one in charge of taking it forward.

De Luca is now in his fourth year in MotoGP, but began his career in 1990 as an aerodynamicist for the likes of Minardi, Benetton and Ferrari in Formula 1 and in tin-top and GT racing.

“The aerodynamic work on our bike is not directly inspired by cars, aerodynamics is a global concept and we are working on original solutions to achieve what the riders ask us for,” de Luca explained to Autosport.

“Whether it’s better stability under braking, better cornering, the bike not moving at high speeds, etc, MotoGP bikes are becoming more sophisticated and powerful every day, and they need the right aerodynamics to keep them on the line.”

Aprilia Racing Team fork mounted wings

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The curious aspect to this new aerodynamic package is that it was ready to be used at the Sepang test last month, though Aprilia elected against revealing it to avoid its rivals copying the concept in the month leading up to this weekend’s test in Portugal.

“We took it to Sepang and it was all ready to be mounted on the bike,” Aleix Espargaro explained to Autosport on Friday.

“But in the end we decided not to take it out so that they wouldn’t copy it.”

Aprilia’s tail unit wing is a departure from the concept Ducati ushered in last year at the British Grand Prix with its ‘Stegosaurus’ design, with Yamaha set to follow Aprilia’s path in this regard.

“We know that Yamaha has made a wing like ours, that lets us know what they are looking for,” said an Aprilia engineer.

“The Ducati wing, ‘ridge’ type, is to improve stability when stopping the bike. The horizontal wing is for better cornering, which is what Yamaha is looking for.”

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