'The engineers have worked a lot, especially on aerodynamics,' KTM MotoGP star Pol Espargaro said recently.

During the pre-season, Espargaro's RC16 fairing not only featured some saw-tooth styling and elaborately curved wing sections but, for part of testing at least, was fitted with Gurney Flaps.

A Gurney Flap - named after their 'discovery' by car racing legend Dan Gurney's team in the 1970s - consists of a small 'tab', pointing vertically upwards, across the rear edge of a wing.

Although the blunt appearance suggests it would diminish aerodynamic performance, the pressure change created by the Flap helps prevent the 'boundary layer' of air (nearest the wing) breaking away from the surface, thus boosting downforce although sometimes at the expense of extra drag.

According to racing folklore, Gurney initially tried to hide the true purpose of the device by saying it was simply to avoid cutting the mechanics' hands when pushing the car...

These pictures show Espargaro's factory KTM fairing fitted with and without Gurney Flaps during the opening 2020 test at Sepang.

With Gurney Flaps:

Without Gurney Flaps:

By the time of the final MotoGP pre-season test in Qatar, when the fairing was in full Red Bull colours, it appeared Espargaro had settled for Flaps fitted only to the lower (internal) wing surface and not the top:

However, rookie team-mate Brad Binder, plus Tech3's Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona did not appear to have Gurney Flaps on their machines (although a short run is always possible).

Until the opening race is held, it remains to be seen if any Gurney Flaps were included in the fairing designs 'digitally homologated' by KTM for its riders at the start of this season.

Teams are then allowed to make one further fairing design update before the end of the world championship.

It did not appear that any other teams ran Gurney Flaps during 2020 pre-season testing, although as a well-known method of aerodynamic tuning it would be a surprise if they had not been tried behind closed doors at some stage.

 

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