Lead Forensics

Changing the Strategy – Looking for Competitive Disadvantage

Feb 22, 2021 | Aerodynamics, Innovation, Motorsport, Performance

Most motorsport development deals with the search for a competitive advantage. Teams find ways to make their race machines faster, optimising them to reduce lap time to win races.

Excerpt from an article by Racecar Engineering about how the aerodynamic design concept adopted by MV Agusta for their 2020 Moto2 machine looked to competitively disadvantage their rivals.

‘In a spec class (like Moto”) where the powertrain, tyres and electronics are standard, aerodynamics can make the difference,’ says Brian Gillen, R&D Director at MV Agusta. ‘Often, motorcycle aerodynamicists look to reduce the coefficient of drag as much as possible because they’re focused on top speed. However, the amount of time that you run on a racetrack at top speed, wide-open throttle, and full rpm percentagewise on a lap in Moto2 is minimal. Additionally, the gain in lap time as a function of top speed is limited as the bikes are so evenly matched.’

Motorcycles by nature are highly susceptible to slipstreaming, and in spec class racing, slipstreaming is a considerable element of the strategy for winning races. As such, MV Agusta’s aerodynamic development focused primarily on not limiting its adversaries’ performance advantage in slipstreaming.

‘Between the 2019 and 2020 versions of the bike, we spent a lot of time developing it to reduce the draft that we were giving to our competitors,’ explains Gillen. ‘We applied simulations that provided data to see what was possible to reduce the bike’s towing capability.

‘When we did our complete reconstruction, we did all of the surfaces of the bike. This reimagination of how a motorcycle passes through the air left a reduced low-pressure area behind the bike and smaller wake and fewer vortices coming off the rider at high speed.

‘On the track, this translated into an increase in the MV Agusta bike peak acceleration, increased stability and comfort for the rider and a reduction in closing in speeds from the other bikes as they were trying to catch a tow from our machine.’

See the full Racecar Engineering article.

Image: MV Agusta Moto2 in CFD showing aero wake Credit: Airshaper

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