KTM’s new MotoGP fairing a ‘completely different concept’

Bradley Smith says the new front fairing introduced by KTM for its MotoGP bike at Austin represents a promising and “completely different” concept to the winglets he used with Yamaha.

MotoGP manufacturers have developed new aerodynamic fairings for 2017 designed to offset the front downforce lost by this year’s ban on winglets.

Newcomer KTM is the only brand not subjected to restrictions on the number of different fairings it can use, and became the last to try a variation at Austin on its RC16.

Smith and Pol Espargaro had one each for the weekend, and the Briton says KTM’s update is different and more effective than the winglets he had on his Tech3 Yamaha last year.

“The biggest problem with our bike is it seems to wheelie quite a lot,” Smith said.

“It’s just keeping the front wheel on the ground, like the wings did before.

“I feel a bigger difference before than I ever did with the wings on last year’s bike.

“This fairing’s a completely-different concept, and it seems to help our bike quite a lot, by at least half-a-second [at Austin], which is much more than I ever got last year.

“It’s helping us.”

Espargaro crashed with his fairing fitted during qualifying, but KTM repaired it for the race, and the Spaniard said it was particularly helpful on the bumpy Austin surface.

“We gained a lot of stability on the straight,” he said.

“Especially this straight with the bumps, some wind, it was really effective. We felt so much improvement.”

KTM tried the new fairing with test rider Mika Kallio at Mugello before the Austin race, and Smith said it doesn’t influence handling, focusing “just on acceleration”.

Each MotoGP manufacturer used winglets of some variety last year, but only Suzuki used a homologated 2017 fairing in a grand prix weekend before KTM.

“We’ve got a good aerodynamics team that study these types of things and put it together,” Smith said.

“That’s one of the great things about KTM. They’ve actually studied what they need to study and brought it to the racetrack and it works.”

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