During the second round of the 2018 season in Argentina, manufacturers that compete in MotoGP had a meeting to discuss the aerodynamic package of each prototype used by the different teams.
The MSMA – association of manufacturers in MotoGP – wanted to discuss the introduction of a team of engineers to analyze and accept (or not) the different aerodynamic elements installed on the MotoGP prototypes. At the moment, and since the aerodynamic became so important in MotoGP a few years ago, the decision to accept or decline these elements is solely in the hands of Danny Aldrige, technical director of MotoGP.
But to everyone’s surprise, KTM Factory Racing decided to change the focus of the meeting. The Austrian manufacturer showed up at the meeting with a proposal to eliminate, or at least freeze, the development on the aerodynamic winglets used on the motorcycles.
KTM Factory Racing based the proposal on engineers outside MotoGP racing, saying that the race to find the best aerodynamic package is becoming too expensive, and the price the teams are paying doesn’t justify itself because the manufacturers won’t scale these technical solutions to production motorcycles.
The proposal surprised the MSMA members, but KTM Factory Racing did manage to get the support of some manufacturers!
Honda and its racing department HRC, was the first to support the KTM proposal, and that shouldn’t come as a big surprise since the Japanese brand was among the first to speak against the aerodynamic winglets in MotoGP when Ducati started using them.
Honda also tried to eliminate the winglets in 2016, and the result of the effort from the Japanese brand is that the design of MotoGP prototypes, even with winglets, is a bit “smoother” than what we saw in the beginning.
According to some reports in German news portal SpeedWeek, other manufacturers like Suzuki showed their support to KTM’s proposal, while at this moment Yamaha Racing and Aprilia Racing don’t have a final decision on this subject, so they’ll wait for further discussions on this before they make their final decision.
But there’s one manufacturer that is against KTM’s proposal: Ducati.
The Borgo Panigale based brand was the first to introduce the aerodynamic winglets in MotoGP, and at the time everyone was surprised to see this technical solution on the Desmosedici GP prototype.
Ducati developed for every season – and sometimes even for every race – different winglet packages, some more aggressive than others, and the Italian manufacturer has invested a lot of money trying to figure out how to use this in their advantage.
Ducati team boss Gigi Dall’Igna doesn’t want to see his work undone by the KTM proposal, so Ducati denied accepting to change the rules on aerodynamics of MotoGP bikes.
Since the MSMA need a unanimous decision to be able to introduce changes in the technical rules, no decision about this matter has been taken in Argentina, and further meetings should be held in the next few MotoGP rounds to continue to discuss this.
Will we see Ducati accepting to lose the aerodynamic winglets on the MotoGP bikes? Or are we going to continue to see the winglets becoming more important on the development of these prototypes?