The above concept is applicable to the prohibition the GP Commission imposed on the subject of the wings, spoilers, winglet—call them what you will—in MotoGP. Especially after engineers found that indeed these aerodynamic appendages have been a step forward in the performance of their bikes on track.
And knowing the race engineers, I’ll bet that they are not going to give up that advantage in any way. What, you’ve prohibited wings with some questionable argument about their danger? Well don’t worry, we’ll create the same effect on our bikes but in a different way: 2 + 2 = 4, but also you can also reach four by: 3 + 1, 1 + 3 and other endless other combinations.
And that is exactly what some makers are already working on. Well, we know of at least one, and after that one we imagine that three quarters will follow in this circumvention of the ban.
At this point we know that the advantages the wings created for MotoGP: reducing the wheelies, keeping the front wheel firmly on the ground at high speed and better establishment of the front axle during braking.
At this point we know that there are basically two advantages the wings created for MotoGP: reducing the wheelies and keeping the front wheel firmly on the ground. Those two things seem the same but they are not. The first case—wheelie reduction—helped prevent the engine electronics from engaging that cut power to the engine when they detected that the front was light and losing contact with the ground (AKA a wheelie) through the downforce generated by winglets.
The second affect the wings have is to generate load on the front axle which establishes firm contact between the front wheel and the ground and allows the rider to feel it at all times. As the engineer we consulted for this article explained, this load would be very easy to calculate if you had certain parameters, such as size or rake angle—the angle of the spoiler relative to the horizon—and this is directly related to speed: the more speed, the more load. Thus the effectiveness of deflection increases with increasing speed in the exits of corners, in fast corners or on the straights.
There is a third effect, although it can in fact be considered a consequence of the second, which is a better establishment of the front axle during braking. With more load on the front axle, there is more support when braking begins at high speed; the tendency to lose the front wheel is reduced, since the grip is higher. Thus braking is better.
So with the ban on the wings starting next season, theoretically all these dynamic benefits are lost. And here we return to our argument of principle: does anyone really believe that the engineers are going to give up these advantages because of this absurd? The answer is clear: no.
What will the engineers come up with in seeking to reproduce the advantages of the winglets without creating more wings? there is a constructor who is experimenting with…a double walled fairing!
What will the engineers come up with in seeking to reproduce the advantages of the winglets without creating more wings? I, a simple journalist, will not be the one who explains this to the engineers, but I know a constructor who is experimenting with…a double walled fairing! An approach that basically attempts to generate a flow of air between the two walls and from there, to compensate for what was lost with the ban on the wings…Surprising, right?
Between these two walls are a series of deflectors that, depending on the rake angle (the angle in respect to the horizon) to generate the desired effect. The new rule prohibits aerodynamic appendages attached to the outside of the bike…so let’s put them inside. This way they are no longer a danger to the integrity of the riders as was the argument for the ban.
As we were saying, we know because they told us, that a manufacturer in the championship has worked / is working on these double walled fairings. In tests so far they have encountered an unexpected problem: engine overheating, the result having been circumstantial and one that could have an easy solution. If something is going to stop this development, it will be a different set of circumstances.
“As in F1, we will be very attentive to the rules. Every word is important because everything that is not prohibited will be permitted,” Davide Tardozzi, Ducati.
Being an absolute layman, the double fairing with internal deflectors strikes me as a streamlined approach from F1. I think the wings attached to motorcycles are much more basic, and therefore much less expensive. Because the cost of entering into unbridled aerodynamic developments has been among the arguments in the discussion on the wings … And now they’re working on a safe alternatives that are much more complex, and therefore more expensive.
Can you imagine, for example, if these deflectors inside of the fairings were mobile and could function like flaps of an aircraft to help turn the bike on corner entry? I can imagine it happening. “This would be forbidden,” says Shuhei Nakamoto flatly when asked about the issue. “Mobile aerodynamic parts are prohibited by the rules.”
And indeed, in the FIM World Championship Regulations, paragraph 184.108.40.206, is item #8, where it talks about the wings, and at the end there is a phrase that says moving aerodynamic devices are prohibited. When I read it, I interpreted it to be referring to the wings as part of that point 8; but Nakamoto instead claims that it is in general.
And I’ll leave it at that, with a warning to navigators that Davide Tardozzi, the Ducati Team sporting director, told our Italian colleagues at GPOne. “As in F1, we will be very attentive to the rules. Every word is important because everything that is not prohibited will be permitted.”