Ducati debuts ‘Stegosaurus’ aero in British MotoGP practice

Ducati has stirred the pot in MotoGP again on Friday at the British Grand Prix as it debuted a radical new ‘Stegosaurus’ rear aerodynamic wing set-up.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

The Italian manufacturer has been MotoGP’s leading technical innovators for a number of years now, as it was the first to really develop aerodynamic wings on its bikes, as well as the ride height devices that have been at the centre of much debate over the past year.

And on Friday at Silverstone in the latter stages of FP2, Ducati sent Gresini’s Enea Bastianini and Pramac’s Jorge Martin out on track with a set of four winglets – two on either side – fitted to the tail unit of both riders’ bikes.

The configuration on both bikes was slightly different, and it is not yet clear exactly what Ducati’s intentions are with this latest development.

First impressions suggested Ducati is looking for more rear load to perhaps help in the corners.

Martin, who was 13th at the end of practice, says he gained on top speed on the new aero but found he lost agility.

“Well, they are not only wings, it is also the front fairing,” Martin said when asked by Motorsport about the latest Ducati aero upgrade.

“But the big thing you saw was the rear. I can’t tell you a lot, I tried in the afternoon and I wasn’t so fast in the afternoon when I tried the fairing.

“So, in general I don’t know. We need to analyse and understand if we should keep them or take them out.

“I felt it was a bit more difficult on the change of direction, but on the straight it was better.

“At the end of the day, it’s a balance and we need to understand which side to go.”

Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing

Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bastianini’s assessment offered more clues as to what Ducati may be looking for with the new wings, as the Gresini rider noted he gained better stability under braking.

“The feeling is good for the moment,” Bastianini, who was eighth overall on Friday, said of the wings.

“Tomorrow, we have to try to know if it’s better or not, because I had to come back to the normal one and after we try it again because it’s important to understand if it’s better or not.

“But my first impression is that it’s better under braking, it’s more stable, and also for the speed it’s not bad. I think for tomorrow it’s good for the qualifying.

“[Ducati said] in this part [it would help me]. I think the braking is the strongest point of these wings.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

KTM brings the noise with latest upgrade

It wasn’t just Ducati who courted interest in its motorcycles on Friday at Silverstone, as KTM introduced a new exhaust design on a race weekend for the first time.

The exhaust, which stretches along the side of the bike and up to the tail unit, was first trialled at the post-race Jerez test.

The new pipe, according to Miguel Oliveira, is more about offering comfort rather than all out performance as it reduces vibration.

“We tried to gain a little bit more performance from the exhaust and try to get a better connection just by having not so much vibration and this is basically what we felt,” the Portuguese rider said.

“The exhaust is really not giving a lot on back-to-back comparisons [with the old one] on speed, on power. But it gives a good feeling. Yeah, it looks like [it’s more about comfort].

“I prefer the new one because it looks smooth, and also the sound is different because it gives a bit more comfort in that way.”

The louder volume delivered by the exhaust was a request made by the riders following the Jerez test as the previous version proved to be too quiet, which made it difficult for them to understand hear exactly what their bike was doing when riding in packs.

“It’s a bit weird because it’s not that loud, It was a lot more quiet and sometimes you’re not quite sure if you’re in the right gear or something because the tone was so low you feel like you’ve done something wrong,” Brad Binder noted.

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