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.
The man who mistook his aero device for a hat
MotoGP’s aero war is raging, with Aprilia the latest to fit a swingarm device, so what’s next for the rules? Should aero stay or should it go?
These words you are reading are not part of a MotoGP article, they are the opening sentences of the first chapter of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
The photo you see above is not an aerodynamic device attached to Aprilia’s RS-GP MotoGP bike for the first time during Monday’s private test at the Circuit of The Americas, it is a tyre cooler, or a swingarm stiffener, or a debris deflector, or possibly a hat.
MotoGP finds itself in a strange place at the moment, when words mean more than reality. Or perhaps the people in charge are suffering from a severe case of visual agnosia, an unusual neurological condition that leaves people unable to recognize even familiar objects.
The famous neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote a book about his experiences with patients suffering from visual agnosia. The book was titled “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”.
In MotoGP’s scrutineering bays and even in its Court of Appeal in Switzerland, officials are examining the latest gizmos fitted to MotoGP bikes and failing to correctly identify what they see in front of them.
During the recent Court of Appeal case to decide the fate of Ducati’s swingarm widget used in the season-opening Qatar GP, officials agreed with Ducati staff that the device was a tyre cooler and not an aerodynamic device designed to increase downforce and therefore rear grip.
Once the device had been declared legal it was obvious that rival manufacturers would make their own swingarm aero devices (sorry, tyre coolers), just as they had copied the Desmosedici’s winglets in 2016.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.