until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP

First impressions of Honda’s new ‘crazy downforce’ MotoGP aero

by Valentin Khorounzhiy, Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The new Honda aero package making its MotoGP race weekend debut at Silverstone is a “massive” change that is still in a very early stage of development, according to Takaaki Nakagami.

The LCR rider was alone in the Honda camp in receiving the aero package for the British Grand Prix, after tester Stefan Bradl had tried it out in private testing during the summer break.

It wasn’t made available to lead Honda rider Marc Marquez for what he described as “technical reasons”, the six-time champion referencing the fact that only a single front aero upgrade is available to be homologated for every full-time rider in a given season. The new package is on te left of the before/after comparison image below.

Nakagami Aero Comparison

Introducing it on Nakagami’s satellite bike, therefore, effectively makes him a racing tester for Silverstone – a role the Japanese seems likely to play for much of the season given it’s normal practice for satellite riders and that his LCR team-mate Alex Rins has signed with Yamaha for 2024, and therefore is unlikely to be leaned on much in Honda development work from here.

Although this is not the first time Honda has tried this sort of aero concept – which is more reminiscent of what the likes of Ducati and KTM currently run – its usual set-up is a lot more minimalistic relative to the European brands.

And aero development has long been cited as an area where Honda, along with fellow Japanese brand Yamaha, is lagging behind.

“So… I guess I should talk about the aero?” joked Nakagami unprompted when beginning his print media session after Friday practice at Silverstone.

“I mean, as you can see from the outside, it’s massively different. It looks like they brought a completely brand new [concept], a lot more downforce of course as you can see.

“In some areas of course it’s quite a positive feeling, we can increase torque [because] it means a lot less wheelies. But some areas, some sectors, some corners, still we need to understand and we need to adjust on the bike balance.

“The bike balance is really difficult to understand. Because it’s a completely different feeling of the bike. It changes a lot, even on the straight, in the braking, mid-corner, exit, it’s a completely different feeling of the bike balance.”

1061145

Nakagami did back-to-back testing of the new aero in both of Friday’s sessions and acknowledged it was “not magic” – not because it was a failure, but because it wasn’t an instant plug-and-play upgrade.

“Some areas are good, but some areas still I couldn’t understand where is the limit, because it’s too big a change,” he explained.

“Still we need to change the riding position, still we need to change many things. Because just put it on and it’s not working well, it’s just crazy downforce on the front.

“So… we need to change many, many things. I don’t know how long it takes but it’s going to be a big job.”

1061088

Nakagami, who is running the Kalex chassis this weekend, said his side of the garage was still ’50/50′ on whether to continue with the new aero for the rest of the weekend, with a decision due before qualifying.

But he did indicate that Honda would prefer him to continue with it, and that he agreed with the logic.

“HRC, they believe that to keep using the new aero package – and also myself, for the future, [I believe] it’s better to keep using it, to keep collecting data.

“This is the plan for this weekend.”

And while he’d described it as ‘too big a change’, that wasn’t a criticism.

“[It] is good. Because we are looking always at that kind of big change, and they made it.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks