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Mamola reckons Dall'Igna is the Adrian Newey of MotoGP

"Having lost Stoner and failed with Rossi, Ducati bet on Gigi to return them to the peak, which they achieved this year. I think something has to happen with the regulations to let the others catch up"

MotoGP: Mamola reckons Dall'Igna is the Adrian Newey of MotoGP

Until a few years ago, Formula 1 and MotoGP had very little in common. Both categories have always been the maximum expression of two- and four-wheeled sport, but from a technical point of view, a motorbike and a single-seater share few concepts. The aim is the same for both vehicles, however, that is to be faster on the straight, when braking and when cornering. It’s the pursuit of pure performance at all costs through experimentation.

In recent years, however, the level of MotoGP has risen to the point of invading one of the fields that historically had been the exclusive prerogative of Formula 1, namely that of aerodynamics. The fact that motorcycles arrived 'late' in pure experimentation is explained by the different dynamics of the vehicles. A car remains (at least apparently) in the same position with respect to the track, making the elaboration of a benchmark model less complex.

For motorcycles, the matter becomes incredibly more complex, with a vehicle that changes its position with respect to the track, continuously passing through degrees of inclination that now touch 70° when leaning. In short, the benchmark model for aerodynamic study must bear in mind much more complex problems, having to do with a vehicle which in practice is never the same for the entire duration of a lap, except in the short sections where you are gearing up for a long straight and the position of bike and rider does not change.

Actually, in the history of the world championship there have been many experiments even in the less recent past, starting from Moto Guzzi, arriving at Mv Agusta, passing through an experiment by Team WCM with John Hopkins' Yamaha 500. But the results never fully convinced them to continue experimenting, until Ducati tried massively again.

Gigi Dall'Igna has blazed a trail, introducing aerodynamic concepts on motorcycles that were then followed by all the others, effectively indicating a way forward for everyone. According to Randy Mamola, who spoke to our Crash.net colleagues about it, the current situation in MotoGP, with races often devoid of major duels, is partly attributable to the current development of aerodynamics. This season, the riders have often complained about the very short braking distances, or about the problem of overheating of the front tyre while in the slipstream of their rivals.

“If you’re not a fan of Formula 1 then you cannot be a fan of MotoGP either, because what we used to hear from Formula 1 three, four, five years ago is ‘I can’t follow the car in front of me’, and we’ve got that in bike racing now. However, the solution is less simple. Formula 1 reached the point of huge wings and significant turbulence decades ago. Reducing their effect has been part of F1’s ambitions for at least the last 10 or 12 years. It’s about the era, it’s about where the regulations are, and where that sits.”

According to Mamola, Ducati is clearly ahead of its rivals today.

“I believe one manufacturer at this moment has a pretty big grip on this, more than one rider can win on the bike, it’s Ducati. When Dall’Igna arrived in Ducati in 2014, they were in the middle of their MotoGP nadir. Having lost Casey Stoner and failed with Valentino Rossi, Ducati bet on Dall’Igna to return them to the peak of motorcycle racing, which they finally achieved this year. Dall'Igna did what Newey did in Formula 1, proving to be a genius with so many winning cars, including Red Bull".

Randy also suggested a possible solution.

“So, for me, put a freeze. You’re doing those specific things so that other manufacturers can catch up, that Ducati can’t take it to the next level, or whoever else. How they do that, I don’t know, I’m not a regulation or a rule guy or something, but I think something has to happen - concessions for other manufacturers. Now we’re running into problems that Formula 1 have, so if you have a problem with Formula 1, you have a problem with MotoGP.”

 

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