A week after the first MotoGP test of 2018, Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa enjoyed a unique experience in Madrid, as they felt what it is like to fly in the biggest wind tunnel in Europe.

The Repsol Honda riders floated on air, as if they had jumped from a plane without a parachute. Later, in a horizontal wind tunnel, they explained the importance of aerodynamics in many sports, including motorcycle racing.

Accustomed to reaching speeds of over 340 m/h and something akin to flying at race tracks, Márquez and Pedrosa put on their skydiving overalls in the Madrid facility.

In a chamber measuring 4.6 metres wide and 17 metres high, and thanks to four powerful engines that generate a vertical current of adjustable speed between 180 and 300 km/h, the Spaniards were able to feel the effect of floating in the air.

“It was my first experience in a vertical wind tunnel and it's completely unique," said Marquez.

“When you are there inside it is quite high up, and it gives you the feeling that you are rising very quickly," Pedrosa commented.

Air flow, and more specifically how it affects the behaviour of a MotoGP bike, is one of the key elements in the sport, where aerodynamics has become a very important aspect in bike development.

Honda have had their own wind tunnel in Japan since the 1970s, and Márquez and Pedrosa have worked there together with HRC engineers to optimise parameters such as wind resistance and downforce –which affect both top speed as acceleration.

Marquez and Pedrosa will be back down to earth for the second official MotoGP test, at Thailand's Buriram circuit, from February 16-18.

 

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More bloody aero testing. When's it gunna stop?