The aerodynamic revolution continues
In recent years, MotoGP motorcycles have undergone major changes with aerodynamic add-ons such as wings and diffusers. Aprilia’s RS-GP is just one example of these radical changes. But now Aprilia is turning its attention to the previously unchanged but crucial factor: the rider.
Patent application for improved racing suits
Aprilia has filed a patent application that shows how racing combis can be improved aerodynamically. For decades, aerodynamic humps have been found on racing suits, originally developed as additional back protection and later proven to be aerodynamic aids as well. Apart from this and some further developments in the form of helmets, there has been little effort to optimize rider equipment aerodynamically.
New racing suits – aerodynamic and flexible
Aprilia has developed a design that features ten external panels that attach to the rider with Velcro straps to improve airflow. These include panels on the forearms, upper arms, shoulders and legs. The additional panels are designed to be both tight but flexible so as not to restrict the rider’s movement, and to provide additional protection in the event of a fall through expanded polystyrene (EPS) padding.
More comfort and safety for riders
The improved aerodynamics of racing suits not only reduce air resistance, but also ensure greater riding comfort by reducing the turbulence that would otherwise stress the rider. At the same time, the primary protective function of the racing suit in the event of a crash must not be compromised by the aerodynamic attachments under any circumstances.
A new era of aerodynamics in MotoGP?
If Aprilia’s design has the desired effect, racing suits could become a new battleground in the MotoGP aerodynamic arms race. Until then, it remains to be seen how these innovations prove themselves in practice and whether they actually achieve the desired effect.