YAMAHA FIND A WAY AROUND CLIPPED WINGS
Perhaps the most visible modification to appear at Sepang was the new fairing design introduced to the Movistar Yamaha machines following this year’s ban on protruding wings.
Now encased between a second skin on the bike, the new aerodynamic modification doesn’t have the same surface area as the old wings, but they are 100% legal under the new rules. The 2017 rule change was brought in for safety reasons – with Pedrosa describing the old wings design as ‘knives strapped to the side of the bike’.
Valentino Rossi was delighted with the design, although he admitted it was more of an aesthetic improvement, describing the actual effectiveness of the new design as marginal.
“They’ve told me that I can’t speak about the new fairing – but it’s very beautiful,” he said. “It doesn’t make a lot of difference, but it’s nicer to look at, and we’ll continue to use it.”
There was no doubt that Yamaha’s new fairing design stole the tech show at Sepang, but the early unveiling surprised the paddock. MCN understands that the other manufacturers are all working on aerodynamic solutions to battle the ban on protruding wings, but instead of revealing them so early are keeping their cards much closer to their chests. And it may not be until much closer to race day in Qatar in March that Honda and Ducati reveal their true aerodynamic hand. Have Yamaha gone off too early?