In spite of statements yesterday from both Movistar Yamaha team director Meregalli and both riders, Rossi and Vinales, Yamaha’s aero-body update was out today on both of Rossi’s bikes, and in the afternoon for FP4 and qualifying also on those of his team-mate.
The nature of the Red Bull Ring, with emphasis on acceleration as well as braking on the runs between three slow corners, puts a premium on anti-wheelie strategy, and both agreed that the bodywork paid dividends.
The only drawback, said Vinales, was that having used it on track, they were committed to it for the rest of the year. Earlier, he had hoped for further tests, and potentially more development.
The fairing replicates the sandwich sides of the first version, with four internal vanes, but adds a wedge, with squared off corners, to the nose, very similar to KTM’s fairing.
Rossi started the day off with the bodywork, and it helped him to move up not just into the crucial top ten of free practice, but to fourth. “I liked the fairing at the Brno tests, and yesterday we had a lot of wheelie issues, so I decided to try it in the morning, and it was beautiful,” he said.
Vinales noted the effect. “For me in Brno, it didn’t make so much difference. But I was looking at Valentino this morning and he was riding better, so I tried it in FP4. It worked quite well. In the corner it doesn’t affect anything but in acceleration it keeps the front down so you can use a little more power.
“The disadvantage is that we cannot change anything now.”
One aero body update is permitted per rider, but one of the two earlier homologated bodywork units has to be discarded.
The Yamaha riders were not alone in seeking help from the passing breeze. Aleix Espargaro also used the new-shape ducted Aprilia fairing; and Crutchlow had one of his two LCR Hondas again fitted with the larger Marquez-style bolt-on aero side-pods. Both factory Repsol riders already had the equipment in place.
By Michael Scott