Romano Albesiano knows a thing or two about wings, and not just because his training is in aeronautics. In the past he has also been involved in the automotive world, “I worked in aerodynamics with DTM and I know what can be done in that field - the Aprilia Racing Manager recalls - As an engineer I am sorry that they banned them.”
There is no doubt that the bikes benefit from the winglets…
“Absolutely, otherwise no one would have used them. Banning them was just bizarre. I think it was a missed opportunity for the bike world in general.”
There are those who say they are dangerous…
“They are useful for stabilizing the bike; therefore they are an active safety element in this sense.”
Was there no way to defend using them?
“As Aprilia, we acted as mediators and I think that we had arrived at a reasonable proposal. I think that the factory products would even have been able to benefit from this development.”
Was it more of a political battle than a technical one?
“All I can say is that, from a technical point of view, there was no reason to eliminate them. It was a political or a sport question. It is true that the winglets we currently use are not optimized in the event of contact, but it was a development that could have been made. On factory bikes, pedestrian contact simulations in the event of accidents are carried out to obtain approvals.”
Do you think that there will be a way to come back to this decision in the future?
“It seemed like a definitive position to me. I do not think it will be discussed again any time soon.”
Now that there are no more winglets, how will the same effects be achieved without them?
“That is an interesting question from an engineering standpoint and I think that all the manufacturers are asking themselves the same thing. It will become more complex to achieve an aerodynamic load in compliance with the current rules, but some will try.”
Probably everyone will, but isn’t it a contradiction when cost reductions are often discussed? All of the investments made in the winglets were wasted…
(he smiles) “I think that it is a positive thing to limit the evolutions of the fairings during the season, although that does not mean stopping the research. I believe that the decision to remove the winglets was taken in order to prevent the bikes from going in the same direction as the cars, where the aerodynamic development costs are enormous and I think even unjustified.”