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MotoGP Portimao March Testing

Espargaro: Aprilia's F1-style aero concept creating "huge" downforce

Aleix Espargaro says Aprilia’s Formula 1-style aerodynamic concept it has been using at the Portugal MotoGP test is creating “huge” levels of downforce.

Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team

Aerodynamics has been an area where MotoGP manufacturers have been looking to make gains since Ducati turned up to the 2015 season with front fairing-mounted winglets.

Over the ensuing years, aerodynamics has become an arms race, with Aprilia revealing its radical new F1-inspired concept in Portugal on the opening day of the final pre-season test.

The package on the RS-GP consists of front fork-mounted wings to accompany its primary aero fairing, as well as a t-wing on the rear of the seat unit, downward strakes on the swingarm and – what is now being dubbed in the paddock – a ground effect body fairing.

Espargaro says the new aero package is generating “huge” amounts of downforce, which he thinks may have contributed to his arm pump issues on Saturday, and can be used in various different configurations, depending on session-type and circuit.

“A lot,” Espargaro replied after Saturday’s running when asked what difference the new aero on his Aprilia made. “It makes a big difference. We tried quite a lot of new items: the fork [mounted] one, the rear one, and then also some on the wheel.

Aprilia Racing Team fork mounted wings

Aprilia Racing Team fork mounted wings

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“We tried different configurations, the engineers had the idea to try this way and tomorrow I would like to try a different configuration. There are different things you can try.

“I’m not sure if the arm pump is due to this because the downforce was huge. Actually, with the full aero configuration the corner speed on the last corner and before the climb is super high.

“So, it makes the difference. We need to study, to analyse.

“There are different configurations you can use for sprint races or maybe just for qualifying; at one circuit you can maybe add or remove something. Now it's time to try to understand things.”

While team-mate Maverick Vinales was third quickest at the end of Saturday’s testing, Espargaro was only 12th having been forced to park up early due to the arm pump issues he was experience.

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Spaniard admits he is “a bit worried” about this as he only had surgery to rectify the matter two years ago.

“The problem today [that made me] finish early was due to the arm pump on the right arm,” he explained. “I’m a bit worried because it’s very strange. I had some little problems like the other riders in Malaysia due to it [being] the first test of the season.

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“But today it was incredible. I had to cancel [the rest of the programme] because I couldn’t really hold the handlebars.

“So, hopefully it will be better, but if not I will go to Dexeus [hospital in Barcelona] on Monday.”

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