It seems that Aprilia is innovating and experimenting with a carbon fiber frame for their MotoGP machine.  At least this can be concluded from pictures recently shared on social media.

Carbon in MotoGP – Not just lightweight, but also problem child

The use of carbon fiber in MotoGP is by no means insignificant.  All sorts of things are now made from carbon to save weight.  However, building a MotoGP frame out of carbon fiber is not that common.  The last major attempt was by Ducati, although their “frame” did not feature a traditional design and still proved problematic when it came to adjusting the bike.

Since then, the structural use of carbon has been limited.  Some teams use carbon inserts in their frames to increase stiffness.  Others laminate the traditional frame with a carbon fiber wrap for similar reasons.

 

Aprilia tests carbon frames

Now, however, it appears that one team is once again taking a look at carbon.  Aprilia, in fact, has been spotted testing a frame that looks suspiciously like a carbon frame.  Lorenzo Salvadori was in the saddle for the Misano tests.  The news was shared by MotoGP strategist and racing journalist Mat Oxley, who posted a picture of the bike on his Twitter page.  In it, you can clearly see the Aprilia RSGP, which appears to have a full carbon fiber support frame that extends from the steering head to the footpeg.

If Aprilia is indeed planning to introduce a carbon frame in the premier class, that would be big news. 

 

Carbon challenge: lack of flexibility and high stiffness

Carbon frames have historically been difficult to ride compared to conventional aluminum parts.  Most riders point to the lack of flexibility and high stiffness as major issues.

In the coming months, it will certainly be interesting to see how Aprilia masters this challenge and whether they manage to make a real breakthrough with a carbon frame in MotoGP.

 

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