MotoGP: Aprilia’s Playing Around with a Carbon Fiber Frame
A view of Aprilia's RS-GP with what appears to be a carbon fibre frame. Media sourced from Visordown.
Our favorite Noale-based bike brand has been tinkering around with carbon fiber for the chassis situ of their MotoGP RS-GP, re-animating Ducati’s experiments of over a decade ago.
According to Mat Oxley’s Twitter post, Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia’s test rider) took the thing for a spin at Misano, with the bike’s shoulder showing off “a full carbon fiber beam frame running from the headstock to the footpeg” (via Visordown).
The Pros and Cons of Carbon Fiber in MotoGP
While carbon fiber – also known as “graphite fiber” – is known for making the lightest of frames, the main problem lies in its high-rigidity, and durability ratings; the material may be “five-times stronger than steel and twice as stiff” (via Innovaative Composite), but how you layer carbon fiber affects how long you’ve got until the thing breaks down.
Fortunately, carbon fiber is also prized in the MotoGP paddock for being a material that’s easy to repair (or, at least, easier than aluminum); there’s also value in how the material’s layering can be adjusted for additional flex, with many teams racing to comprehend efficient use in relation to the bike’s other titanium, magnesium and aluminum components.
In other words, working with carbon fiber is time-consuming, and there’s a higher risk of the bike pulling a tantrum – a bit of a headache, all things considered – but Aprilia’s apparently already done the math on that end of the calculator and decided the benefits outweigh the risks.
Currently, many MotoGP bikes show off carbon swingarms as a main fave, with other preferences including carbon fiber reinforcement in chassis structure and the obligatory choice of carbon fiber for bodywork.