Motorcycle Racing

Aprilia brings F1-inspired blown diffuser to MotoGP in Sepang test

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Aerodynamic devices have been gaining prominence in MotoGP for several years now, but manufacturers have taken things up a notch in 2024, as evidenced by pictures coming out of the Sepang International Circuit this week.

While all five manufacturers have put extra focus on aero over the winter, Aprilia in particular has introduced some radical solutions in its bid to close the gap to Ducati and KTM this year.

Marco de Luca, Head of Vehicle at Aprilia Racing, has plenty of F1 experience under his belt thanks to a stint as an aerodynamicist at Ferrari during its wildly successful era with Michael Schumacher.

One of the ideas that de Luca had patented in June has now made its way to the Aprilia RS-GP, and marks the first use of such a concept in MotoGP.

Blown diffuser was a technology that was pioneered by Red Bull during the early 2010s and it involved directing hot exhaust gases over the diffuser to generate more downforce.

Aprilia has come up with its own version of the concept, which was spotted during the first pre-season test of the year in Malaysia this week, and is part of a larger overhaul of the rear end of the RS-GP.

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Initially, the attention fell on the upper part of the tail which has only two lateral profiles and a small cantilevered flap, in addition to a single wing – a departure from the triplane layout that many others have adopted.

But of more interest is the lower part of the bike, which Aprilia has cleverly designed to build a channel that acts as an extractor profile.

One of the exhausts has been placed inside the tunnel, and thanks to the blowing of the hot gasses, it accelerates the flow trend, thereby improving the air extraction. 

The two vertical bulkheads on the sides of the rear wheel, anchored to the rear swingarm, are also useful elements for cleaning up the trail for greater efficiency of the diffuser.

Of course, there are losses due to the turbulence of the rear wheel and everything is still at an experimental stage, with an off-channel version of the terminal also trialled by Aprilia.

Copying its double diffuser design won’t be easy because it requires a lot of CFD work and testing in the wind tunnel, but it could be the start of a new area of development that could revolutionise aerodynamic concepts in MotoGP.

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

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