After new MotoGP regulations put a stop to the “winglets” seen on several racebikes last season, manufacturers have been trying new strategies to add aerodynamic features that comply with the new rules. The latest development, debuted today by Jorge Lorenzo during free practice for this weekend’s Brno round, is a new fairing design that looks somewhat like Sally Field’s costume from The Flying Nun.

080417-jorge-lorenzo-motogp-ducati-new-fairing-design-5-cropped

The new design has a pair of aerodynamic elements extending from either side of the central air intake and curving downwards and back toward the narrower main part of the bodywork. It’s not clear if the new design will pass inspection, but Ducati may be hoping the fact the extensions connect back with the body is enough.

Jorge Lorenzo rode a bike with the regular fairing for a few laps before switching to the new design. The usual fairing is generally wider while the new design is narrower in the area directly in front of the handlebars.

Jorge Lorenzo rode a bike with the regular fairing for a few laps before switching to the new design. The usual fairing is generally wider while the new design is narrower in the area directly in front of the handlebars.

The design is similar to one Ducati tested at Losail over the winter, pictured below. That design had the openings higher in the front fairing. Both designs were intended to provide more downforce but sacrificed overall top speed.

080417-dovizioso-ducati-desmosedici-hammerhead-fairing

Andrea Dovizioso tried a different design over the winter. Nicknamed the “hammerhead” by the press, the design provided some added downforce but Ducati said it lost too much top speed.

Lorenzo finished 15th overall today in Free Practice 1 using the new fairing. Lorenzo says he did lose a bit of top speed but sees some roof for improvement.

“In the afternoon we tried the new fairing and even though my final classification today was not what we hoped for, I’m really satisfied,” says Lorenzo. “They’ve done a great job in Ducati Corse! In the end I didn’t use the new tire, which would have allowed me to improve my time, but the most important thing was to understand the behavior of the bike in this new configuration. We probably lose a bit in top speed, but by working well on the setting I’m sure that the new fairing has a lot of potential.”

We’ll see if Lorenzo continues to use the new fairing design through the weekend.

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  • Old MOron

    “It’s not clear if the new design will pass inspection, but Ducati may be hoping…”

    You called it, DC. Let’s look at the regulations (http://www.fim-live.com/en/sport/regulations-and-documents/grand-prix/)

    2.4.4.7 Bodywork
    8. Devices or shapes protruding from the fairing or bodywork and not
    integrated in the body streamlining (eg. wings, fins, bulges, etc.)
    that may provide an aerodynamic effect (eg. providing downforce,
    disrupting aerodynamic wake, etc.) are not allowed.

    So what do you think? Are these monsters “integrated in the body streamlining”?

    http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/080417-jorge-lorenzo-motogp-ducati-new-fairing-design-5-cropped-768×506.jpg

    • denchung

      I guess it comes down to what is considered “integrated”. Honda also tried a new fairing today, but it was a more subtle change to the front edge of the side panels.

      • Old MOron

        Well, do YOU think they’re “integrated”?

        Part of me wants to say yes because I want to applaud Ducati for pushing the envelope. But those things are not integrated. They stick out like sore thumbs.

        • denchung

          It doesn’t pass the smell test for me, but one would think Ducati received the okay first before having Lorenzo riding it today during FP. The design was previously used in private testing, but I imagine Dorna/the FIM would have given it the okay first before it started being used today.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Dorna doesn’t do anything until somebody complains.

        • DickRuble

          Part of me says they have some nerve while the other part says they need to be kicked in the teeth for pushing the envelope.

        • john phyyt

          FIM : moto gp. Would dearly love for Lorenzo to be competitive. I thought the fin ban was about safety. And this new design seems to do away with the potential slicing effect . . I guess that it would be passable if no other teams get too upset.

          • Old MOron

            Maybe the slicing effect is mitigated, but look at those sharp corners. They would concentrate a lot force into a small surface area during an impact.

            Any way, it looks like the fairing has been allowed. The curious thing is that Dovi is not using it.

          • BDan75

            It’s definitely been allowed. Seems a bit of a stretch…but I guess that’s how it works. I think it was Pedrosa who was quoted as saying “Yeah, but what happens when somebody’s handlebar gets caught in it?”

          • denchung

            Riders are only allowed to change fairings once so Dovi, who is in the title hunt, probably would want to make sure this is a good enough improvement. Petrucci used a different design Saturday too.

  • Starmag

    Hopefully it doesn’t have the same effect as Sister Bertrille’s cornette.

  • JWaller

    Naked bikes look better and better every day. Does the Kelly Johnson mantra of design not work on motorcycles? You know, “if it looks good, it will fly good. If it looks ugly, it will fly the same”.

    • BDan75

      Beauty and the beholder. Look at all the aero stuff on F1 cars these days…I think they have a functional beauty, but for looks give me a 488GTB any day. Anyway, if weird looking aero didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it. I’m guessing the difference between now and Kelly Johnson’s day is massive amounts of computing power.

  • novemberjulius

    Upside down biplanes.

  • Gruf Rude

    I just wish sport touring fairings didn’t follow FIM race fairings so slavishly. The frame-hugging style of race bikes really doesn’t do anything for weather protection nor true horsepower/fuel-saving aerodynamics.

  • spiff

    I wonder how it will crash. Will they need to clean debris after a low side?

    • BDan75

      Good point I hadn’t considered. I’m thinking not much worse than the big wings, but who knows? I’m sure we’ll find out soon.

  • spiff

    Why is the Brno preview off the main page? Can’t find it. There is a bunch of fluff in the way. I have a thought on how this page could work if anyone is interested. I have to say it is not as seamless as it could/should be. (Not the content, but the user experience.)

    • spiff

      So, I immediately just saw the Brno preview “tending”, but still.

  • therr850

    Ask NASCAR and build them all the same! Like yesterdays post said, tubular handlebars and no fairings. Maybe they should lift the ban on dustbins.