Aerodynamics has totally revolutionized MotoGP. Since Ducati started showing off its increasingly innovative designs in 2015, frills, spoilers, fins and other extras have become a staple of the fairings of the world’s fastest bikes.
At the 2023 pre-season test that ended in Portimao, Aprilia unveiled a radical aerodynamic concept inspired by Formula 1, including a spoiler on the front fork, a trapeze on the swingarm and a T-wing on the tail.
On the final day, Yamaha unveiled a massive rear wing, more car-like than motorcycle, in an attempt to improve the M1’s cornering capabilities.
The championship has been forced to take steps to curb the enormous aerodynamic development costs by limiting the number of homologated fairings to two per season per manufacturer.
However, the effect of aerodynamics on safety and spectacle has been repeatedly debated by fans and drivers alike.
Marc Marquez was one of the most outspoken opponents of the development of superlative aerodynamics, as well as altitude control devices.
After seeing Aprilia and Yamaha’s new concept in Portugal, the Honda rider explained, “It’s getting harder to keep up with other bikes. With aerodynamics changing a lot the balance of the bike, changing a lot of riding, braking? It’s getting harder to keep up with someone, and it can even get worse in many parts of the track.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
“But as we have seen with Aprilia, with Yamaha? I hope MotoGP understands where they want to go in the future. In my opinion, this is not the best choice, and it is not the best choice for this event.
“Performance-wise, we went faster. But for show, I don’t think it’s the best choice. But that’s how it is, and we have to carry on.
Although KTM did not reveal a radical fairing, the package it uses has been co-developed with the Red Bull Formula 1 team at its Milton Keynes base.
Aleix Espargaro said Aprilia’s aerodynamics created “a huge amount of downforce”, although Fabio Quartararo felt the Yamaha rear wing was not providing an advantage. He joked that one of his mechanics hoped the wing would not work due to its ugly appearance.