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With so many fairings gripping the headlines of late, motogp.com sat down with MotoGP™ Technical Director Danny Aldridge to talk aero. But first, back to basics:
Riders can have two fairings homologated at one time, and it is counted purely by rider and not by team. One is the ‘normal’ fairing from last season, the other an ‘aero’ fairing.
After the original deadline for homologation of the first aero fairings before Qatar, each rider is allowed one upgrade. New, upgraded fairings can be homologated at any time - the only important thing is that they’re given the ok before leaving pitlane.
So if a rider wishes to homologate a new fairing as their update, but already has two homologated, they must then choose which to keep alongside the new one. One rider, two fairings – and a new aero one in usually means one an old aero one is out.
So is the new Ducati aero fairing unveiled in Brno the ‘one update’ for the season? Yes:
Danny Aldridge: “Ducati homologated a new fairing, as you’ve seen. If you see it on track, it’s homologated – so it’s homologated for Petrucci, Dovi and Lorenzo, which is technically the factory riders because they’re on the 2017 bike."
The fairings used by Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso looked different to the version sported by Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing). Are they the same fairing?
DA: “The Petrucci, the ‘original’ one, is the longer one. That’s the official fairing, shall we call it - the one that’s been homologated. But the rules allow you to remove material. So, what they’ve done is cut away this fairing and made this smaller version. The rules do allow you to remove material from the aero package. So, they’ve been very, very clever and said, ‘Okay, we’ll make it solid’ so you’ve got the outside and a strut, shall we call it. This is solid, so it’s not like bolted on or anything like that. It’s a molded piece and one piece. All they’ve done is cut away the bottom of it. So, when you see two different versions, it’s not. It’s just smaller versions, actually; the modification of the original full version cut away, because you are allowed to remove material.”
That idea of modification via removal of material is one that is not unique to the Borgo Panigale factory, with some of the ‘different’ fairings on display so far this season in fact counting as the same fairing, just with material removed. Both Yamaha and Honda have done much the same:
DA: “Yamaha did it like Ducati have done. It was the same fairing, they just drilled holes in it. It’s purely because the rules allow you to remove material. So, it’s their 2017 first version, and they basically drilled holes in. So, they removed material. That’s not classed as an upgrade or anything like that. That is permitted.”
At the Brno test, that was Yamaha’s one upgrade:
In that Championship top five, there remains one manufacturer, however, who is yet to show their hand and/or upgrade: Honda.
DA: “People ask me about Honda. Honda haven’t upgraded. What you see now - the side pods or ducts on the Hondas - Marquez had it, Pedrosa, Crutchlow. That is still the original 2017 fairing. So, what they did in Qatar is they homologated it with the sides on and just took them off; didn’t want to use them. So, it’s not upgraded. It’s what they homologated as the rule says, and it says in the rules quite clearly that you are allowed to make your aero package as many parts as you want. You can’t mix and match. If it was in ten parts you can only use those ten parts for that version. You couldn’t take another version with the ten parts… But it allows you to remove parts, so that’s what they did. They homologated like this, took them off from Qatar and didn’t use them to race.”