Jerez Test Photos - That Mystery Aprilia, And Other Tech Goodness

Though Ducati had only a few minor changes to test to the GPZero, they flew WSBK champion Carlos Checa to help with the donkey work

Is it a WSBK bike? Is it a MotoGP bike? Is it a CRT bike? Aprilia kept everyone guessing about the RSV4 they brought to Jerez

That included the liberal application of duct tape to every chassis surface which might be exposed to the photographers' snooping lenses

Colin Edwards got his first chance to sample the Suter BMW. His verdict: good potential, but a lot to do

The BMW S1000RR engine is not that much bigger than the CBR600 lump used in Moto2

With Guy Coulon able to concentrate on designing chassis, the Tech 3 Moto2 bikes showed some big improvements

If only it was as fast as it is good-looking...

The Aprilia's rear swingarm - clearly not stock

Duct tape as a styling accessory is never really going to take off

Randy de Puniet was fast anyway, regardless of the looks

Photos courtesy of Ben Davies, If you'd like to have desktop-sized versions these or any of the photos featured on the site, you can become a site supporter and take out a subscription. If you'd like to have some of the photos from the site hanging on your wall, together with a schedule for the 2012 MotoGP and World Superbike races, you can purchase the 2012 Motorcycle Racing Calendar, the perfect gift for any race fan.

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At heart,all trying to go faster. It includes welds,banjo joints and the ever present duct tape,needle files,micrometers,multimeters and calibration kits. Oft,a hacksaw,grindstone,taps and dies. As much as the technology advances,it remains the same. Two wheels and a need for speed,
as I get back to grafting a GSXR rear brake assembly onto one of my Ducati's.
All in the quest for...speed and feel.
Never mind aesthetics. Morlocks and Eloi. Engineering staff and riders. Time machines and Data loggers (riders). Inextricably interwoven.

The swingarm is an interesting topic of discussion. They use prototype swingarms in WSBK so it would be interesting to compare this close up with others for the WSBK-spec Aprilia RSV4.

Aprilia have taped over the lower part of the frame so I wonder if they've modified the pivot and all of the complicated geometry on the back of the motorcycle. Above my pay grade, but it could be an interesting to learn how a WSBK must be modified to work with the Bridgestones.

Look at a picture of Biaggi's WSBK bike and this frame look the same. Notably, look at the lower left side of the frame and the little "nub" that is cast into it, is on both the stock frame and the one in these pictures. I'm no engineer, but that "nub" does not seem all that important and would probably be left off a prototype frame??

Here is a link to a picture I found of the WSBK frame

Actually on a second look that "nub" seems to be a place to mount the lower fairing bracket from behind.

The swingarm pivot area is still a casting, so almost certainly stock. All the shapes and welds look the same through the tape. Stock frame with a coat of black paint and duct tape, imho.

I'm sure they will eventually produce a frame with the castings replaced by cnc'd billet, and that will satisfy the rules. I'm still very suspicious of all the "Bridgestones need special frames" hype... as I've mentioned elsewhere, the fifference in load is probably < 4%, which is going to be less than the difference between different track surfaces. Maybe some small changes in weight distribution. There was nothing in the times at Jerez to suggest that the Suter and FTR frames work any better than oem, although they're probably a bit lighter.

re: "There was nothing in the times at Jerez to suggest that the Suter and FTR frames work any better than oem, although they're probably a bit lighter."

contrary to opinion, mark-1/mod-1 works frames and swingers all tend to be heavier. they have to be.

Can't see much differences other than color of parts, swingarm placing of wires, exhaust and front sprocket.

It looks like there might be some wires at a couple of places under the duct tape, maybe some sensors or different sensor wireing for the bike? Does anyone know if they measure virations etc. from chassis'?

The swingarm has a seam in the middle that's missing from rsv4. Maybe its just a crudely modified to a different stiffness without the need to build it from scratch.

The bike looks like it has been put together and modified on the tightest possible schedule. It is not that long ago that Aspar said they will be changing to CRT.

re: "The swingarm has a seam in the middle that's missing from rsv4. Maybe its just a crudely modified to a different stiffness without the need to build it from scratch."

or that's simply an OLD swingarm (perhaps too stiff for pirelli?) from the development cycle that begat the swingarm biaggi is currently using. the works swingarms the ape's used the first season aren't the ones in use today. in fact, they weren't even inverted iirc...? they were top side braced similiar to the stocker. i vaguely remember it looking like something by whoever turns out the kit used in BSB and by tenkate on fireblades.

looks so well finished - even at this early stage of prototype. if nothing else, it's great eye candy. this is what a proper grand prix protoype is supposed to look like.

Duct tape - that isn't duct tape, it's part of the eternal search for chassis flex. A novel approach, for sure - otherwise we'd already have seen it on Rossi's Ductatti at some stage in '11...

Correct. As Scooterpunk explained, the lower part of the frame is the original casted piece. Surely a true MotoGP/CRT frame will have this machined from billet.

Especially Aprilia, because they were the first to do this for all their production racers (plusminus >2003)

They were building the RS250 customer bike from CNC'd and pressed pieces as far back as 1990, I think.

Yes, but not complete from billet, like the RSA125/250.

I think the Cube was the first to be completely done from billet. Even Honda still used pressed pieces in their first RC212V.

The steering head & main spars are more closely coupled to the motor on the Suter BMW than any of the other bikes (other than the Duc GP11). That might answer some questions about front-end feel and chassis architecture...

i don't believe they've modified anything on the RSV4. aprilia's too smart. there'd be no need at this point. in fact, it would be detrimental until such time they've collected adequate data on how the existing chassis performs in the context of carbon brakes and bridgestones. change something now, and you could easily be chasing your tail trying to "fix" something that wasn't even "broken" to begin with. changing something begs the question, based on what...?