Aprilia Racing Team Gresini has just recently pulled the covers off their weapon for the 2021 MotoGP season, and oh boy, is there a lot to talk about. Unveiled at Losail International Circuit in Qatar, a brand new RS-GP race bike was revealed by team racers Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori. During the reveal, a fitting tribute to the late and great Fausto Gresini, who has been largely responsible for the team's success since 2015, was made.
As mentioned, Aleix Espargaro and Lorenzo Savadori will be responsible for piloting the new prototype to success this year. Apart from being groundbreaking from a technological standpoint, the new bike is also meant to represent the natural evolution of the previous generation RS-GP. The team had in fact, been hoping to launch the bike a lot sooner. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on the initial phases of development. Over the winter, however, Aprilia's team of engineers and technicians went hard at work in improving the bike and creating what we have here today. Let's take a closer look, shall we?
As you can see, there are a few things that immediately catch the eye. For starters, the bike features a slightly redesigned livery. While still bearing an unmistakable resemblance to that of the RS-GP20, the new bike looks even more menacing thanks to slightly revised design cues found on the bottom part of the fairing, as well as the fuel tank and tail section. Furthermore, slight revisions have been made to the bodywork, all to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics. Most notably would be the new carbon fiber swingarm, which significantly increases rigidity and reduces weight at the rear end.
The bike's overall aerodynamics have been tweaked too, as you can see, the winglets up front are slightly lower, and the lower fairing, as well as the tail section have been restyled. The aerodynamics of the new RS-GP21 were in fact developed in the Toyota Wind Tunnel in Cologne. All these seemingly minor revisions to the bike's aerodynamics were done in an effort to increase downforce, particularly on the front end under heavy acceleration. This in turn, allows electronic aids such as anti-wheelie, to be less invasive when kicking in.
At the heart of the brand new Aprilia RS-GP21 is a V4 engine co-developed by former Ferrari engineer Luca Marmorini. The engine features revisions which have not only put it on a diet, but optimized its performance across the entire rev range. In the 2020 season, the RS-GP's engine was considered one of the bike's weak points. We'll just have to wait and see if the revised mill will change that.