If you’ve seen some of the photos from the Losail International Circuit, you’ll see that Nicky Hayden has been going out in some of the sessions with a piece of plastic affixed to his helmet. As the MotoGP paddock gets ready for the Qatar GP, the wind has been a factor here in Doha, fueled by the Arabian Gulf which is only two miles away from us and the desert the surrounds the area.
Originally we thought that Arai was perhaps experimenting with some sort of new aerodynamic package here in Qatar, but Carlos Checa ran a similar setup during the World Superbike races at Phillip Island with X-lite helmet. Talking to Arai Helmets about the odd clear piece of plastic, they disclosed that it’s something that Ducati has been experimenting with on its race package.
In the MotoGP paddock the Ducati Desmosedici has earned a reputation for being more prone to windy conditions than other machines, with the GP11 being no exception to this notion. With Alex Briggs tweeting a photo from the pit box, it’s clear that Valentino Rossi’s side of the Ducati Corse garage has been playing with different variations of the Desmosedici GP11‘s front fairing and windscreen, looking for a package that suited the Italian as he looks for more front-end feeling from the GP bike.
Unsurprisingly we’ve seen the entire Ducati field in MotoGP drilling holes in their front fairings, as the GP11 has a larger forward profile and holes supposedly allow for less back pressure behind the windscreen (this last point being debatable in engineering circles).
So far we haven’t seen any of the other Ducati riders trying the clear plastic spoiler, but if Hayden’s use of the item proves positive, it could be something we see at other races on more riders.
Photo: Courtesy of Ducati Corse