Aprilia’s MotoGP aero: ‘It’s a new world, like when Columbus went to America!’
JANUARY 17TH 2023
Aprilia goes into the 2023 MotoGP world championship as a genuine title challenger. Technical director Romano Albesiano guides us through the latest RS-GP developments, from engine to aero
Mat Oxley: What were the positives and negatives of the RS-GP’s performance in 2022?
Albesiano: There wasn’t one big item we developed, so it’s been a general increase of performance, on the engine side, the chassis side, in the aerodynamics and in the way we work on track to optimise all the parameters, which is a vital factor. The weak point has been the consistency of performance, because we had a few races where the performance wasn’t aligned with the rest of the season, which was a surprise for us.
The rear wing you used at Mugello was a bolt-on part, so will you have built-in rear aero for 2023?
The seat area is outside the aero homologation rules, so in theory you can change that area at every race. There’s a lot to discover in that area. We started experimenting with a small rear wing and we plan to do more.
What happened to you at those four flyaways: Japan, Thailand, Australia and Malaysia?
We had the incident at Motegi, which was a really trivial mistake, just click of a mouse, basically. OK, we can improve our procedures in these areas and we will do that for sure. But what happened at Motegi was like a hammer blow for us.
Then in Thailand we had trouble with grip, the first time, so this was very surprising and this is one of the two races we still need to understand. Then at Phillip Island we had quite good race, except for a detail in the traction-control setting, which was a small mistake. Nobody is perfect. Then Malaysia is the second race to understand. For sure Aleix expected more because we were so fast in winter testing. That’s the point I mentioned earlier – we need to understand these races to have a more solid, consistent performance in the future.
You have lost concessions for 2023, so you can’t do any engine development during the season and your riders will have fewer engines, so is this a big deal?
The process is different – you have to decide your engine configuration earlier, because you have to buy a lot of parts and assemble more engines. But if I look at the 2022 season we didn’t really introduce any real changes in the engine during the season, in the parameters that are limited by engine sealing. Of course you can still change the exhaust, the airbox, the throttle-body system and you can change the fuel and the oil.
So it will be basically the same and I’m not too concerned, maybe just a little bit, because we have to serve double the number of riders. This is a level of complication that we have to do carefully but we are preparing for this.
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