You are here
Home > Other news >

Aprilia: Ground Effect Road Bike on the Way?

Aprilia has applied for a patent to cover its latest work on aerodynamics, a ground-effect fairing which allows greater lean angles and more corner speed without losing grip. The company pioneered this work in 2022 for MotoGP, and the idea was copied by several rivals for the ’23 race season. But the existence of a patent application suggests that Aprilia is protecting the concept for future use on a production bike.

Ground effect – creating a low pressure venturi effect under a vehicle for extra downforce – was originally used in Formula One in the 1970s, but is more difficult to apply to a motorcycle. Aprilia has already patented aerodynamic features on the RS-GP which give more downforce in a straight line.

The latest application covers wing-shaped extensions on either side of the fairing. Once the bike reaches a lean angle of 60 degrees, this creates a narrow channel between the bodywork and road surface for the air to pass through, creating the venturi and hence downforce. The patent application explains: “Obviously, the greater force that attracts the motorcycle to the ground, the greater centrifugal force the motorcycle can withstand without losing grip. This allows taking corners at higher speeds.”

There’s no word yet as to when (or whether) we’ll see a ground effect fairing on an Aprilia road bike, but BMF Chair Jim Freeman was intrigued: “Interesting as a track tech idea, but I’d have to think quite hard about its value on public roads. 60 degrees would be getting off the tread on a lot of the bikes I’ve ridden. I’m thinking stickier rubber and beta blockers are nearer my skill level, but I applaud Aprilia for some great ideas.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Aprilia