The arrival of the airbag: the evolution of safety in MotoGP

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The Telegraph features an article on the importance of airbag systems in Grands Prix, with comment from Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi

To coincide with the start of the 2018 season, there’s a feature in the UK’s Telegraphon airbags in leather suits worn by MotoGP™ – and WorldSBK – riders. In Grand Prix racing, that’s something that became mandated this season, and in the article a host of riders talk about the different systems and the incredible advances made in safety, including Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP).

“In the beginning, I think around 2009, Dainese start to bring it [the airbag] after a long study but I didn’t feel comfortable because I lost some movement and gained some weight,” explains the ‘Doctor’, one of those on the grid riding from the very different 500 era to the present day. “It was too big. But from that moment they are able to improve a lot, and now, sincerely, I don’t want to go on the track without it. For me it is a great step for safety, especially for the shoulders, for the collarbones.”

The rider from Tavullia isn’t alone, with LCR Honda Castrol’s Cal Crutchlow agreeing it’s something that’s a big step forward in safety – and, he adds, it’s saved him from a few different injuries.

I’ve been testing it since 2014: different comfort, different ways of deployment and different thresholds,” says Crutchlow. “

Alpinestars has so many guys on tracks around the world that this is why they have been able to develop it so fast. We get new and updated stuff all the time.

I know it cannot go over the whole body but it used to be over the shoulder, top of the arm and down the ribs. Now we also have our hips and legs [protected]. The way it works is superb and it has definitely saved me and other riders from broken bones. I think there was only a 50% rate of people who crashed and escaped a broken collarbone, and with the airbag it went up to 90% because it deploys so well.”I spoke to my shoulder surgeon, who I have used for many years like many cyclists and other riders. I asked him how business was going and whether he’d had many clients in recently and he joked he was pi**ed off that the airbag had come along!”says Crutchlow.

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