The MotoGP testing season has well and truly kicked off this week, and spotted in Sepang was plenty of new tech on these prototype machines. From tail units and swingarms with all kinds of fancy bodywork additions to the even more winglets providing downforce/cooling/stability (delete as applicable).
It’s all fascinating stuff when race teams are on a mission to try and shave milliseconds off a lap time or simply to make tyres last longer. KTM’s new winglet, mounted ahead of the front mudguard, has got people talking, bringing the F1-style wing first seen on Rodger Freeth’s Yamaha TZ750 racebike back in 1977 kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Are we ready to see this technology on road bikes yet? Remember, it was only a few years ago we were scoffing at the winglets on the Ducati Streetfighter V4 road bike, and now a high performance road-legal litrebike looks kinda naked without aero. Even the Fireblade’s subtle faired-in wings are now proudly displayed on the outside for 2024.
So, it looks mildy ridiculous now – even on a £2m MotoGP bike, but give it a few years and would you be surprised if Kevin had them on his Triumph Daytona 1000 triple?
Which leads me to wondering what a litre-sized KTM sportsbike might look like with a load of the aero currently doing the rounds on the MotoGP circuit. Hell, let’s make it an RC16 V4, I mean they’ve got to go that route eventually anyway, right?