Ducati has said that its weird-looking lenticular rear wheel MIGHT stay on the World Superbike machine if a program of upcoming testing proves there’s a benefit.

As for roadbikes getting the filled-in back wheel aid to improve airflow around the right hand rear side of the machine… the door’s not shut on that, either.

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The wheel cover was seen at Misano initially during a MotoGP practice session on Michele Pirro’s GP16 bike and at the last WSB round at Misano the tech appeared again, this time on the back of Chaz Davies’ machine.

The project is designed to make the bike more aerodynamically-efficient in the way it ‘closes’ the air bubble around the rear right-hand side of the bike which runs a single-sided swingarm. It’s an aero-smart idea that you may have seen before on professional cyclist’s pushbikes.

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It’s still unclear as to where the tech will end up – WSB or MotoGP – but if there’s found to be an improvement you can be sure it’ll go to whichever bike benefits. So it could well end up in both camps. As for such things appearing on roadbikes, the Ducati boss who spoke to us wouldn’t be drawn on a clear yes or no – so that’s a maybe.

Here’s what Superbike Project Director Ernesto Marinelli told us: “The wheel cover has now been introduced for use in practice sessions.

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“It is mainly to improve the flow at the rear right side of the bike. It will be used again to bring data for development and then we will decide if to keep it on the bike as a permanent item or not.

“In regards of road bike development, at the moment there is no plan. We need to carry out further experience with this before we can decide what to do with this idea”.

Tony Carter

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