Dorna Sports President Carmelo Ezpeleta explained a number of decisions that were made at a meeting of the FIM Commission on Big Prizes in Assen: why will gadgets for suspensions be banned in MotoGP, but “aerodynamic surpluses” are not?
Discussions within the MSMA (MotoGP Manufacturers’ Association) continue – what will be the prototypes in 2023-26? Obviously, a number of manufacturers are against the development of the topic of gadgets that change the geometry of prototypes along the way. We are talking about a partial or complete ban on Ride Height devices, which have been applied since 2019.
They are already banned in Moto2 and Moto3 – the decision was made so that the technical arms race would not spread from the senior class to the junior ones, in particular, in Moto3, where there are only two prototype manufacturers – KTM and Honda, and the cost of the chassis will reach 87,000 euros in 2023 – this is already too much. In Moto2, some teams are already trying to use static understating devices like the holeshot device (on the fork), but seeing this, Dorna blocked the trend.
In 2023, the use of a rear shock absorber dynamic understatement device (RHD) will be prohibited in MotoGP. They work about the same for all factories that have introduced this technology after Ducati: the pilot can mechanically or through a hydraulic accumulator change the stiffness of the shock absorber so that it folds almost completely; the motorcycle at the same time “sits on its belly”, practically striking the lower part of the fairing for asphalt. Then, the pilot presses the trigger, with which the shock absorber returns to its natural position. He can cock the device on every lap, but as those who really try to use it say, the technology is too raw, and the platoon occurs irregularly, with a high probability of failure. RHD devices progressed rapidly in 2021-22 and quickly turned from purely mechanical to hydraulic, which has not yet been prohibited by the Regulations.
But the FIM Commission wants to put an end to this issue by adding the concept of such devices to the rules. The Commission is currently preparing draft amendments, which are expected to be approved and announced before October 2022. The key point why this technology should not be used is the motivation that it is impossible and pointless to use it in production motorcycles. At least in the form that is implemented in MotoGP!
The second issue has always been winglets-flaps, which have become an integral part of aerodynamic packages since 2018. And again, the R&D Ducati Corse played a decisive role here! Winglets really help to create more downforce. And here Dorna has a real conflict of interest with manufacturers.
Because the factories, realizing that their technology worked, began to introduce winglets on mass-produced motorcycles! In particular, superbikes…
Winglets in top-level mass-produced sportbikes are now installed by Ducati, Honda, and Kawasaki, and Yamaha and Suzuki are looking for ways to integrate these developments into their aerodynamic packages so that they do not bulge beyond the dimensions of plastic.
Here’s What Winglets do on Ducati Panigale V4:
As can be seen in the pictures from the aerodynamic tests, the airflow can really be twisted away from the pilot and the protruding parts of the motorcycle to facilitate its movement, making the bike more dynamic and smooth:
On the other hand, it is also obvious that there are side effects – turbulence that occurs behind the motorcycle:
And this puts Ezpeleta at a dead end: “There have always been manufacturers who are “for” and “against” winglets. We monitor their reaction, and how it changes from year to year. But recently, manufacturers have changed their minds about the approach to using aerodynamic variations. They have a choice of two aerodynamic packages for the season, which suits them completely. But in the future, of course, we would like to make our sport more economical.”
What will it be – a ban on the development of complex aerodynamic solutions? Ban winglets?
Ezpeleta throws up his hands: “Serial motorcycles are now equipped with flaps because it is effective. So should we ban their use of racing cars? I don’t think it makes sense.”