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Aero "last piece of puzzle" in MotoGP bike development, says Miller

Jack Miller has described aerodynamics as the “last piece of the puzzle” in the development of MotoGP bikes, as engineers continue to squeeze out more performance from the current rulebook.

Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aero devices have been gaining prevalence in MotoGP ever since Ducati first introduced winglets on its bike in the mid-2010s, with other manufacturers also jumping on the bandwagon after seeing how it transformed the performance of the Desmosedici.

While the impact of excessive aerodynamics on the quality of racing has made its usage a controversial topic, 2024 saw bike makers only taking things up a notch by investing more in radical wings and fairings – with Aprilia and KTM leading the way in terms of new developments.

Miller feels that aero offers a cost-effective method of bringing performance updates to MotoGP bikes and says it is now the last key area that hasn’t been exploited fully by the five manufacturers competing in the premier class.

“It's the main thing,” said the KTM rider. “We have spent so many years developing electronics, engines, tyres and so on and so forth, now we are at the last piece of the puzzle that we can do. 

“I saw a quote from somebody at Aprilia saying it's cheaper for them to develop the aero than it is the engine. 

"Well, that is true. We don't wanna go and redevelop one of these MotoGP engines, it's crazy. So aero is an easy bolt-on feature that can help. 

“But where does it end? Where does it keep going? I don't know."

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Aprilia Racing Team bike

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Aprilia grabbed headlines in pre-season testing when it debuted a radically overhauled version of the RS-GP, featuring a big wing on the rear and a new carbon panel on the swingarm.

The marque’s factory rider Aleix Espargaro described the increasing reliance on aero as something that is “part of the game”, while highlighting the advantage of the marque’s 2024 concept.

“We saw that the lines are changing quite a lot in our sport,” he said. “But you cannot put doors on the sea. It's part of the game. 

“I said many times it's not about if I like or I don't like. This is the rulebook and you have to be the best one, and our bike aerodynamically is quite good. So hopefully in Portimao this extra downforce will help.

He added: “Everybody has a lot of aero. Our aero is very good but when you have a good aerodynamic engineering team, it means the bike will have a lot of load in mid-corners, which we have, but not a lot of drag on the straight." 

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