Anatomy
of the
Beast

Redline Magazine 01/2019 > Aerodynamics

A close look inside
the record-crushing machine

The 2019 Desmosedici represents the ultimate in Ducati MotoGP evolution. At the centre of it all is the V4 desmodromic engine with counter-rotating drive shaft. The numbers relating to maximum power and speed are jealously guarded inside the Racing department, but engine performance is clear for all to see, and sets the bar for the category.

Then there are the aerodynamics, which reach superb levels with this Desmosedici, thanks to a system of highly efficient winged profiles masterfully incorporated within its forms, bound by the technical regulation. The chassis ties it all together. The swing-arm in composite material guarantees maximum efficiency and lightness on the unsuspended masses and is combined with an aluminium perimeter-type frame that is also fruit of continuous development aimed at improving handling and speed through the turns.

When wings
were grown

A game-changer for
aerodynamics evolution in MotoGP

March 2015, Losail circuit, Qatar. The GP15 heads out on track with two small appendages on the sides of the fairing, and Andrea Dovizioso scores pole by setting a sensational time. With the introduction of wings, aerodynamic development enters an unprecedented phase in MotoGP. A process that will reach a peak during the 2018 championship, when all manufacturers propose a range of aerodynamic solutions more varied and diversified than ever before.

The new FIM regulation will gradually and continuously limit a bike’s external appearance. However, this will not affect Ducati’s approach, its progress in the field of aerodynamics having had a significant bearing on its success in recent years.

Winds
of power

Making speed
out of air resistance

Racing is synonymous with the technological avant-garde, but when it comes to the study of aerodynamics, it all still begins with a simple piece of paper. A pencil is used to sketch the air flow that is generated around the bike and its rider, during every riding phase: that of rolling resistance, which determines the bike’s maximum achievable speed, and that of vertical force, which impacts on the braking, acceleration and cornering phases.

These sketches are then translated into IT language. Converted into CAD surfaces, they are inserted into a Computational Fluid Dynamics model, a powerful virtual simulation tool that allows for the representation of pressure and speed trends in the space around the vehicle and for the testing of different bike configurations. 

A three-step process to deliver
leadership in aerodynamics development

Those with the most promising results are taken to the next step, testing in the wind tunnel. Here, aerodynamic forces are reproduced by directing an air flow onto a 1:1 scale model of the bike, coated in a prototype material with components that can be replaced right down to the smallest detail to identify the geometry that offers the best aerodynamic performance.

Testing
on track

“Better front feeling,
better stopping, no negatives”

Jack Miller, Sepang 2018

 

During the final phase of aerodynamic development, the configuration identified in the wind tunnel is adapted to the needs of the actual bike. Prototype parts are redesigned to be built in small production runs, with lighter and more resistant materials, and are subjected to the judgement of the track, or rather a combination of lap times, the identification of aerodynamic forces, and the comments of the test rider. If the outcome is positive, the package immediately goes into production, to equip the factory riders as quickly as possible.

Fairing components, winged appendages, cooling ducts: every surface of the vehicle touched by the air is simulated on the computer, optimised in the wind tunnel and tested on track. It is thanks to this process, carried out regularly throughout the year, that Ducati is able to seek greater and safer performance in the race, increase its level of aerodynamic understanding and explore solutions that are always innovative and original.

Explore
the chapters

of 01/2019 Redline Magazine

Redline Magazine 2019 Issue

The power of the new Panigale V4 R, the adrenaline of the new Hypermotard 950, the colours of the Joyvolution and much more. The latest edition of the Redline Magazine is filled with exciting stories. Get the printed version of the Redline Magazine 2019, take a full ride in the Ducati world!

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