Up Close: Ducati GP15 Wing

Posted on 29 Mar, 2015 by Scott Jones
Ducati GP15 wing

Please click on the above image to view it larger.

We’ve seen winglets on the Ducati before, but not quite like these. Intended to generate downforce on the front tire as if this were a Formula 1 car, the Ducati GP15 winglet is contoured as if designed in a wind tunnel. Perhaps it was!

Seen from above, you can appreciate how much it curves down rather than being flat as I recall the previous version being.
Ducati GP15 wing

Each winglet extends beyond the front of the fairing, and that flat bit on the side extends farther on the bottom than it does on the top.

As other factories are looking for more power (Suzuki in particular), Ducati has so much bursting out of its Desmoseidici that a bit of extra drag on the straight bit is no worry, if these winglets push the front down on the twisty bits.

UPDATE: An astute observer pointed out to me yesterday that in order to keep the winglets legal, Ducati added some extensions to the fairing around the hand grip area. This extends the width of the fairing so that the winglets do not extend beyond the fairing and thus violate the rules. It’s a great example of how at times the regulations only go so far toward restricting what a manufacturer can and can’t do.

Ducati GP15 wingletWe want these winglets on the bike. But they’re too wide and extend beyond the fairing, not allowed. Then just rivet some extensions onto the fair to make it wider. Rivet, rivet, rivet: problem solved.

But as I look at these riveted-on sections, I’m wondering if they may not become permanent, molded-on changes to the fairing. They look like they might increase aerodynamic efficiency when it comes to airflow over the handle bar areas on each side of the bike. Instead of riders hands, brake and clutch levers, and handlebar grips catching air at high speed, these smoothly curved extensions might allow air to pass over more efficiently. I wonder if we will see this change adopted in a more permanent fashion on the Ducati, and perhaps on other bikes to do not use this style of winglet. Time will tell…

Photograph: ©2015 by Scott Jones / PHOTO.GP – All Rights Reserved

Camera Info: Nikon D4 with Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

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Comments

  • scooterpunk 2015-03-30

    They must feel they’re working as Iannone didn’t use them all weekend but DID in the race……….

  • DamianSapinski 2015-04-03

    They are meant to put more load to front tyre when leaning bike at corner entry. More load to front tyre = more mechanical friction = more lateral force coming from front tyre = higher yaw velocity. (front tyre makes alot more lateral forces than rear because is narrower and too much grip from RR tyre pushes bike wide at corner entry). Those winglets work up to lean angle where ends become horizontal. Next 2 races (where late apex corners dominate) – it will be interesting fight between Hondas and Ducatis. Honda is well prepared (another step) for late apex corners and high mechanical grip. Ducati as well but GP15 is compeletly diffrent bikes than all ducati bikes before thus in need to get base data first… Yamaha still in Lorenzo 125 (both wheels on the ground) – averaging (fr and rr tyres) friction probably will have to wait for success to tracks with more on-throttle turning (as Assen). BTW – you make really nice tech photos – thank you!

  • Scott Jones 2015-04-03

    Thanks for the technical info, Damian. I enjoy reading your comments on FB though my technical understanding is far below yours. Thanks also for the compliment on my pictures, expect more tech stuff to come here on this website.

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