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MotoGP: Aprilia working on 'strange fairing' to simulate winglets

"We are working in the wind tunnel on a very strange fairing. It simulates almost 55-60% of the winglets"
Aleix Espargaro has revealed that Aprilia are working on a 'very strange' fairing to replace at least half of the downforce lost by MotoGP's new wing ban.

While some unusual fairings are expected during pre-season testing, manufacturers have so far opted to basically use wing-less versions of their 'standard' designs.

Officially, that's because they are still working on their final 2017 fairings, but it is also clear manufacturers are waiting as late as possible to avoid tipping off the competition.

The new fairing development freeze, which allows only one update during the season, has compounded the potential gain should a manufacturer pull-off an advantage through innovative design.

Speaking in the Aprilia pits at the Sepang test on Wednesday, Espargaro suggested that the second of the three pre-season tests will be the venue for some interesting bodywork on the RS-GP.

"We are working in the wind tunnel in Perugia on a very strange fairing and I think we will have it in Australia to try. It simulates almost 55-60% of the winglets, which is always positive when we receive a better engine!" he said.

But the former Suzuki rider, who was 15th fastest on day one of testing, warned that without more power they will not be able to benefit from replacing the downforce.

"This bike doesn't accelerate, I ride with completely zero wheelie control, so no big difference [without wings] at the moment," he said.

"I've ridden many bikes, but the electronic and chassis of the Aprilia is one of the best I ever rode. But we just need power. The day we find power we will make a big step because the bike is really good.

"The top speed is not bad because our aerodynamics are already good, but in every acceleration from a slow corner we lose a lot.

"It's frustrating because the chassis is very stable, I like it a lot. It really reminds me of the Forward bike three-years ago, but even better on the brakes, you can go in really hard. So I like a lot the frame, but we're missing power. But we still have time."

Until more power arrives, Espargaro has even tried losing weight: "I lose a lot. I finished last year at 69.5-70 and now I'm 66.5. Also the [leathers are lighter] but it's not enough! I will try more!"

Testing at Sepang continues on Tuesday and Wednesday.

By Peter McLaren

Tagged as: Aprilia , Espargaro

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January 31, 2017 6:54 AM

Zero wheelie control really sounds the Ape is down on power big time. My hat goes off to Aleix for losing weight. Power-wise I must wonder how hard can it be to find some more, at least Aprilia are not limited in their engine developement at this time.

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