Tech Details From Austria: Aprilia's Holeshot Controller, Brembo's Big Brakes, KTM's Rear Spoiler, And More

Ride-height devices grow more complex. On display is the front of the Aprilia RS-GP, with an accumulator behind the front forks. It would make sense to use this as a way to automatically trigger the ride-height device. The rules forbid electronic application, but not "passively determined by forces/displacements directly transmitted by mechanical/hydraulic connections".

As you can see, no connection to the front brake system.

All these systems have made the handlebars a very busy place. So automating applying the rear ride-height device makes sense, and leaves the rider to concentrate on riding again.

From this angle, a good view of the bottom duct on the Ducati GP21, where the air from the front is angled down toward the bottom of the bike. Whether it's ground effect or reduced turbulence Ducati are after, the bike is working well. The 'salad box' containing the mass damper also appears to grow more bulbous with each iteration.

Fabio Quartararo is sticking with the aluminum swingarm, despite the continuing progress with the carbon fiber item. A single brake line to the rear caliper means he is using the either/or thumb brake, rather than the system which can be controlled independently. That system has two separate brake lines, and two separate pistons.

Brembo's new brake discs, especially for Austria (and Motegi, if we were going there). The interior of the disc is larger, and with more mass to store more temperature. The slots allow for cooling, crucial at the toughest braking circuit on the calendar.

The new Brembo discs in situ. Note the cooling ducts below, channeling air to the brake calipers. The new aerodynamic front fender for the Yamaha M1 is visible above. Two wires going to speed sensors on the front wheel, and the red dot just out of focus is a brake disc temperature sensor. Vital at the Red Bull Ring

Just visible at the top of the picture on the right fork leg (on the left in the photo) is the release spring for the front holeshot device. The black bracket is what the front fender attaches to. And behind the fork leg, the rod of the fork extension sensor is visible.

KTM debuted a tail spoiler at Austria 2, but only tried it out with the Tech3 team. The objective was to stabilize the rear a little and reduce drag. This is on Danilo Petrucci's RC16.

Somewhere under there is a ride-height device. But the rest of the bike remains remarkably conventional. And still incredibly fast

Honda is experimenting with chassis, in search of the perfect stiffness. Carbon fiber wraps are applied to modify chassis characteristics. The side view of the bike also shows just how slight and elegant the front wings are on the RC213V

Ducati continue to use a valve in the exhaust to control engine torque, visible on the top exhaust pipe


If you'd like to have very high-resolution (4K) versions of the fantastic photos which appear on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. A subscription will also give you access to the many in-depth and exclusive articles we produce for site supporters. The more readers who join our growing band of site supporters, the better we can make, and the more readers will get out of the website. You can find out more about subscribing to here. You can also see these photos and all our subscriber material on our Patreon page.

If you would like to buy a copy of one of these photos, you can email Cormac Ryan Meenan

If you'd like to see more of Cormac's work, you can follow him on Twitter or Instagram, or check out his website,

Back to top


Beautiful centerfolds of the special bits, thank you so much Cormac and David!

KTM's rear spoiler is a new interesting bit. The more I look at the Ducati, the more I appreciate the Suzuki. Tech is cool! NASA is really interesting. But even better that we have it contested by a very conventional good old GP bike. And then we have our funky in house Austrian bike, another program entirely. Blowing my expectations away! 

Gone are the days of two Japanese bikes filling out minds. It is a brilliant era.

And I had to smile at Honda's ongoing mid-season chassis adjustments, that's being going on since Steady Eddie's 1989 NSR, at least!

The Yamaha rear half starting to more sorted than the rest, bar maybe the Suzuki. Still something strangely satisfying about seeing wires protruding in an average fashion at the front. Compare the front and rear of the M1, work to be done. I noticed the Yamaha and Suzuki showing good pace on the straight bits in the race. That Ducati exhaust is starting to look very old fashioned. Sometimes the physically weaker develop a higher level of skill to compensate for a lack of grunt.

Warning pedantry ahead, just skip the high school physics if you wish.

Heat describes the transfer of thermal energy between molecules within a system and is measured in Joules. ... Temperature describes the average kinetic energy of molecules within a material or system and is measured in Celsius (°C)

I would prefer to say Brembo's new brake discs, where the interior of the disc is larger, the disk has more mass to store more heat. The same amout of heat in a heavier mass equals a lower temperature. Or the higher mass can absorb more heat before reaching the same temperature.

Rant completed, sorry I couldn't help meself. I'll get my coat.

Before you go, may I mention that our friend Ape ^ was the Class Champ of his regional road racing organization in Australia? 

Cool, eh? Who else in here used to race we have uncovered yet? (There are some engineer/tech geeks around here too it seems, nice to discover them as well). Turns out we have an interesting and diverse community. 


Happy birthday David Emmett. I hope it's a good one.

Thanks for the mention 'Shrink. Twas a long time ago. Club champion only. Raced in the state titles for 2 seasons. Best race result of sixth from memory. Nowhere in the state chip. I was very lucky to have the support of a few friends. Mikl & Doctor Helen lent me their race bikes. Daron & Mr Alan Brakeshoe also helped. Luckily we won some races. Still cannot comfortably call myself an ex-racer. Simply don't have the budget, bike or body to go racing right now. Being locked down at home doesn't help either.

Back on topic Yamaha are still using the rear hugger with big holes in it, for why? Rear tyre temperature issues? The extra airflow over the top half of the tyre causes more drag therefore lower top speed. Anyone, for example our "engineer/tech geeks" have any insight ?

As a machinist, I gotta say that some of the bits on these bikes are incredible pieces of workmanship. Example: the fender brackets on the forks of the Yamaha. From the looks of it, the lower, moveable portion of the holeshot device is attached to the bracket on the right leg. The brackets aren't mirror image items, and each of those are a pretty complex piece of work. Hats off to whoever designed it, and even moreso to whoever machined it. 

But i did  motocross in my earlier years and lately enduro till last year when i broke my femur...right next to my replacement knee (5 years ago and that was due to a broken knee 25 years ago), the leg hasn't been the same since. 


Ouch! Hurts just to read of it. Dirt riding is tough! Humbling, assumed I would "get it" easily since lots of Mtn biking was followed by road racing. Nope, I was piss poor at it. Motocross esp is brutal! 

Heal well Mr stumo.

I'm well into double figures for broken bones (not counting ribs n fingers)100's of stitches, skin grafts etc, i've  healed ok, nothing really bothers me, except for the leg. Back on a road bike but it's nothing like an offroad bike for fun, not sure if i can get back on one which i'm completely gutted about.