RideFast December 2019

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“Not professional riding, but professional

acting in the paddock, what I did, how

was our history, how was the history of

Avintia, how is the history of the people

involved. Listen to both stories and take

whatever you want out of it. I’m telling

you how I feel it. I think I’m telling you the

facts. That what it is,” he told Gorali.

Racing Life

Although he is a trained lawyer, racing

is the only life he has known since

he was very young, Abraham said.

“When I was fifteen, I started,” he said.

“So it’s been fifteen years that I was

around, living between the tracks in

motorhomes, traveling all the time in a

car and planes and everything. So it’s

kind of the life that I’m used to.”

“So we will see what will be happening.

Now, I honestly have no idea. The

speed, adrenaline… I need adrenaline.

So the speed and adrenaline, people

around, I’m sure I’m going to miss it.

Maybe not in the first week. That’s more

disappointment and anger, but you get

hungry. That’s the time you will see. I

don’t know yet.”

What made Abraham most angry was

the way the whole situation had been

handled. Having his contract torn up at

the end of the year, with no opportunity

to go anywhere else, had been a body

blow. “I understand that Johann Zarco

might be a good guy to ride a bike,” he

said. “I understand that. But this is not

how you treat a person.”

“This is not how you do business either.

If we have a contract and the contract

is there and everything is ready and the

season is over, and right now they know if

they kick me out, which they did, I have no

chance of finding a place now. Basically

no chance in Moto2. MotoGP, absolutely

not. Superbike also, not a good place, at

least. So basically what they did, they just

screwed me. It’s just, I’m done.”

If the Avintia team had told him earlier, he

might have been able to find something

else, Abraham said. “If they told me in the

middle of season, we could have done

something. Or, they could also approach

me in Valencia and say, ‘Karel, look. We’ve

got Zarco. This is the deal. He will bring a

lot more money than you,’ or whatever is

the deal. I don’t know. ‘What are we going

to do about it?’”

“Then I can say, okay, it’s bad, but

maybe I was not so happy this year.

Let’s talk about it and let’s do it the

normal way. That’s how you do it. But

you cannot have the contract and

basically after Valencia it’s called the

beginning of next season, right? So I

was already testing 2019 bikes, and

then they say, ‘Okay, stay home.’”

Fired Crew Chief

Abraham was not the only victim of

this approach, he told Tammy Gorali.

“Basically two weeks before they did it

to me, they did it to my crew chief. I didn’t

know about it. Ducati didn’t know about

it. Nobody knew about it.”

“He came to Malaysia and they told him,

‘Next year you’re not working here.’ He

said, ‘Are you serious? Because now all

the crew chiefs in Moto2, MotoGP, and

Moto3 are taken. So I need to stay home

next year.’ They cut him off. When you

leave for one year, it’s really difficult to

come back.”

Abraham could not see a future for

himself in any of the other classes,

he told Gorali. “Don’t take me wrong

– Moto2 and Superbikes are amazing

races. It’s great. But I have gone through

it. I went to MotoGP. I left MotoGP. I

desperately wanted to make some

good results. I already said it before. I

don’t want to make a step back.”

He did not want to disparage either

Moto2 or World Superbikes, Abraham

insisted. “I don’t say it’s a step back

like it’s bad. No. It’s great racing. But

I already was there, and I would be

coming back. This is something that I

don’t want to do.”

“It’s absolutely clear for me. I said there

is only one condition under which I will

do it, because I’m thirty-years-old. It’s

not old, but for racing it’s not young. So

going Moto2 or Superbikes, I would go

if they gave me a really fast bike, and if

they give me a good salary.”

So Karel Abraham is to sit along the

sidelines at Jerez, while the Reale Avintia

team tests. Tito Rabat will be on one

bike, while the Avintia squad’s MotoE

rider Eric Granado will be on the second

bike for the Jerez test, as a reward for

winning races in MotoE for the team.

MotoGP to limit

wing flex in 2020.

As part of the expanding wing regulations for the 2020

MotoGP season, a new ‘flex test’ will be introduced to

strengthen the ban on active aerodynamics.

The current technical regulations simply state ‘moving

aerodynamic devices are prohibited’.

This clearly prevents any obvious form of active

aerodynamics, such as mechanical wing movement

controlled by an external power supply. But nothing is

perfectly rigid and, like a tree blowing in the wind, every

part of a motorcycle moves or flexes to a certain degree

when out on track.

Such ‘aeroelasticity’ of the bodywork can be exploited

by crafting parts that deliberately flex more than

necessary, or change shape in an advantageous way,

depending on the speed of the motorcycle.

For example, since the main purpose of the wings is to

reduce wheelies, a clever design would hold the wings

at maximum downforce until the bike reaches a speed

where wheelies are no longer a factor.

From that point on, the downforce created by the wings

is not needed and they turn from being a benefit into

a disadvantage, due to the drag they create hurting

ultimate top speed.

Therefore if, when exposed to the greater load

generated at higher speeds, parts of the wing ‘pod’

sections that hang off the bike were designed to bend

into a slightly more streamlined position, drag would

be lowered and top speed increase. So it’s active but, if

there are no specific flex limits, passes as accidental.

Such minor gains would probably have been dismissed in

the past, but in an era where the top ten is often covered

by less than one-second a lap, any advantage must now

be considered.

The flex test forms part of a beefed-up range of 2020

aerodynamic rules, which also includes more precise

dimensions for the wing sections and introduction of

Aero Body restrictions (one update per season) for all

non-mechanical bodywork, including the infamous

swingarm ‘tyre cooler’.

Meanwhile, a recent announcement from the Grand

Prix Commission revealed that in future teams will be

able to remove wings from their bikes at Phillip Island,

something that would currently mean breaking the Aero

Body/Homologation rules (unless one of a rider’s two

fairings allowed for the season was already wingless).

The move implies that the wing sections are thought

to have had an adverse effect on safety in the

kind of extreme gusty crosswinds that forced the

postponement of qualifying at last month’s Australian

MotoGP, after Miguel Oliveira was blown off the circuit.

22 RIDEFAST MAGAZINE DECEMBER 2019

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