Episode 06 - The Aerodynamics

Evolutionary Technology

 

Interview with
Edoardo Lenoci,
Ducati Aerodynamic Development Manager.

At Ducati we started doing research and development in motorcycle aerodynamics before anyone else in the world. We were the first ones to introduce aerodynamic innovations in the world’s top motorcycle competition. This is a fact.

The development of aerodynamic methodologies is inevitably linked to Ducati Corse and therefore to the design of unique racing prototypes. A context where every thousandth of a second can make the difference and where the bar for excellence is very high. From season to season the projects change and evolve, but some milestones remain.

We talked about it with Edoardo Lenoci, Ducati Aerodynamic Development Manager.

“The GP16 aerodynamic design was undoubtedly our most powerful and effective project. The evolution of the MotoGP rules did not allowed us to continue the development in that direction, and today all the legal layouts for aerodynamic appendages are based on closed C-shapes which are globally less efficient than previous ones.

We had been looking for a way to continue the development interrupted in 2017. Breathing new life into our best aerodynamic project”.

Ducati has always had the best performing engines in the racing world, it’s nothing new. But when you’re dealing with such power jewels, getting the power to the ground properly is all. And here aerodynamics does an important job.

“The vertical load that the GP16 wings configuration can generate on the 1708 is sensational. If we take our Panigale V4 as a starting point, the aero package upgrade of the V42020 increases the downforce by 30%, while the 1708 project reaches 50%. These are very significant numbers and the impact on riding style is immediate”.

 

 

True innovation does not complicate: it simplifies. The work done with the application of this aeropackage on 1708 makes the bike easier to ride. It fully values all the power of the vehicle, not making the full intervention of electronic systems necessary to reduce the power supplied. The vertical load on the front makes the acceleration less complex to handle. The throttle can be opened earlier and the bike remains glued to the ground.

“It’s often thought that a particularly advanced motorcycle requires a huge amount of electronics aid, but that’s not the case. By working on different dynamic and aerodynamic features there is less of a need to develop the bike’s electronics. Wing surfaces act intelligently by developing stability as speed increases, for example reducing the need for anti-wheelie systems. And this aspect is very evident when exiting corners and in full acceleration, where, by limiting the intervention of electronics, engine torque is less reduced”.

 

For example, we found during the tests at Mugello that at the end of the last corner, thanks to aerodynamics alone, we managed to gain an 8 m lead on the straight. 8 m are many.

It is part of the Ducati DNA to always look for new ways and find side solutions that are innovative and unexpected. This unpredictability of innovation is an important part of our character, of our identity, which while continuing to evolve remains unmistakably Ducati.

“Working on this project, bringing the GP16 aerodynamic package to this bike, was really important. Not only for the incredible performance that was added, but also because of the cultural change it represents. By carrying aerodynamics to two-wheeled production vehicles, Ducati began a cultural change in which the research effort in MotoGP contaminates the development of production bikes. A transfer of knowledge that from a limited prototyping environment benefits a large number of enthusiasts, allowing them to experience sensations previously reserved only for professional riders. It’s a big change. And it helps us to have this revolution accepted as part of the motorcycling culture”.