Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall’lgna was angry when winglets were banned, so you can imagine his delight when his aerodynamicists showed him their latest work. The Ducati Desmosedici GP17’s so-called ‘hammerhead shark’ bodywork does what MotoGP engineers are supposed to do: push the rules to the very limit. And it does more than that. The radical design has had jaws dropping up and down pit lane because none of the other factories had expected anything like this.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP17’s upper fairing looks like an on-board stereo system, with the speakers missing. Ducati have cleverly worked their way around the rules to create four ‘wing’ surfaces in front of the handlebars.
‘The important thing is they’ve got a good separation between the upper and lower surfaces,’ says Formula One aero expert Ali Rowland-Rouse. ‘You get high pressure above a wing and low pressure below, so you don’t want those forces interacting. If the surfaces are too close, the low pressure generated by the underside of the upper surface will affect the high pressure of the lower surface, which will obviously reduce the down-force.
‘The design is quite ‘draggy,’ so it will probably come and go at different tracks. We do a lot of this in Formula One: we simulate an entire lap with each aero design, which tells us how much we gain in each corner and how much we lose on each straight, then you add it al up to see what works best at each track.’