MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Farewell to winglets?
The subject of winglets, or strakes, or whatever you want to call the infernal contraptions, was a big talking point in the Qatari desert.
Several riders including Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith voiced their concerns; not so much their worries that a strake may hook a rider and cause a crash, but rather the scary effect they have on motorcycles following in their draft at high speeds.
It seems the dirty air behind a winged Ducati moving at over 200mph lifts the front of the chasing motorcycle, causing a severe wobble or worse.
Pedrosa had possibly the scariest moment chasing a winged Duke at Phillip Island last year, at around 211mph/340kph. “You lose front [tyre] contact and you lose control, so the front is shaking and you go into a weave. It’s not a good thing.”
Smith has also had a few frights. “The bike starts to shake, like it goes light,” said the Tech 3 Yamaha rider. “The bike actually shakes and vibrates, which at 210mph, just before you go for the brakes, isn’t the best thing. It also seems to be that when we’re braking behind a Ducati there seems to be some turbulence, like you get into a pocket of air which hits you back. It just seems bizarre.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.