Upon returning from the recent MotoGP test in Thailand, Aprilia riders Aleix Espargaro and Scott Redding spent a day of testing in the Perugia University wind tunnel.

The findings from the wind tunnel experiments, together with CFD and track tests, will now form a base for the forthcoming evolutions to the 2018 RS-GP – most notably a new fairing.

"Aerodynamic research has by now become an integral part of development on a modern MotoGP bike," said Aprilia Racing manager Romano Albesiano. "Not only in terms of the winglets, which are the most visible expression of it, but because on an extremely level playing field, every little detail becomes a determining factor.

"Aleix and Scott have extremely different physical characteristics which therefore require diversified aerodynamic refinements in order to optimise efficiency. The tests in the wind tunnel are just a part of the aerodynamics study, which also consists in computer simulations and checks that are conducted directly on the track.

"We will bring a first version of the aerodynamics package for the 2018 RS-GP to Qatar, whereas a second evolution will be planned once the season is underway."

Aprilia unveiled what was considered one of the most elegant of the new 'integrated winglet' fairings at the start of last year, then switched to a more extreme Ducati-style 'box' design from Misano, which it has continued to use in winter testing.

The five other manufacturers have already tried at least one new fairing in 2018, although exactly which design each will homologate at the opening race remains to be seen.

The late-timing of the Aprilia fairing means they have had the benefit of seeing the evolutions planned by other teams, of which the Yamaha fairing is in a new direction. Might this approach now be followed by Aprilia?

The Qatar test takes place from March 1-3, with the race weekend from March 15-18.