Both Valentino Rossi and and Guy Martin are helping develop the Dainese
D-Air airbag technology. But, while Rossi was equipped with an airbag
and credits it with limiting the extent of the injuries he suffered in
his huge Mugello highside, Guy was only equipped with data collection
Speaking from hospital after successful surgery to repair the fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg, Rossi said, “The airbag in my leathers worked very well and my helmet was just slightly scratched. I don’t have a single bruise! The problem was that I landed on my leg, and it was stuck under my body. If I had landed on my back it would have been different.”
Sadly, Guy Martin, who’s still in hospital receiving treatment for broken ribs, bruised lungs and two fractured vertebrae following his explosive 150mph TT crash wasn’t wearing D-Air this year. Why? He’s collecting data that will help Dainese develop its new D-Air road system.
D-Air track, as worn by Rossi, Lorenzo and, during last year’s TT, Guy Martin, is ready for market and will be going on-sale when Dainese releases its 2011 collection. Now that the track project is wrapped up, Dainese has begun development of an airbag system for road riders. Because the road presents a much more complicated environment to motorcyclists than a race track, D-Air road needs to process and react to a much larger data set. To help build that data set, Guy was fitted with a sophisticated new array of sensors and a computer to gather the data as he lapped the Isle of Man. The data generated by his crash would have been enormously helpful to development of the D-Air road, unfortunately it was lost as the computer collecting it burned when Guy’s CBR1000RR burst into flames.
Unlike less sophisticated systems already on the market that rely on a lanyard between bike and rider to trigger release of an airbag, Dainese’s setup and the similar Alpinestars TechAir instead rely on multiple sensors that detect acceleration in different planes at different areas on the riders’ body. If the suit’s computer determines that the data is saying “crash” then it inflates the airbag. This is a far more desirable method than the lanyard as it eliminates the possibility for accidental airbag deployment, works even if the rider doesn’t fully separate from the bike in a crash and deploys sooner during the accident to better protect the rider. As you can see, D-Air and TechAir both inflate to protect the shoulders, collarbone and neck; all uniquely vulnerable areas.