A couple of weeks ago we exclusively unveiled Dainese D-Air Race. Now, with the official release of the in-suit airbag at Milan’s EICMA show, more material is available and we can take a look back at the 10-year process that resulted in the most sophisticated set of leathers ever.
Captured using high-speed film, this video shows an initial prototype developed near the beginning of the D-Air program. As you can see, this system if similar to the airbag vests currently on the market that use tethers to prompt firing and are worn over other riding gear. Also evident is just how intrusive a misfire of such a large airbag would be.
This video was taken in 2006 and demonstrates an early version of tether-free actuation and near-immediate inflation. The ability to detect a crash early and have the airbag inflated before any impact could occur is a key tenet of Dainese’s development.
At the 2007 Valencia GP, Marco Simoncelli, Michael Ranseder and Simone Giorgi all crashed while wearing D-Air. Now possessing the ability to tell the difference between a high- and low-side and to determine if the crash is minor enough not to require inflation, D-Air successfully protected all three riders. As you can see, the external bag is intrusive and didn’t inflate immediately following the crash, requiring the riders to remove it before restarting.
These two vidoes, from last year, show D-air evolving into an in-suit system.
That same year, Ranseder crashed at both Jerez and Misano while wearing the in-suit system. Watching these clips, you can’t even really see the airbag inflate.
Also at Valencia last year, D-Air accidentally triggered while Lorenzo nearly highsided exiting a corner. This was a crucial test for Dainese, one of the key benefits of its system is that riders and teams need take no extra steps nor make any sacrifices to use it; D-Air should inflate without hampering the rider’s ability to control the bike. This incident proved that it could do just that, even in the heat of MotoGP racing.
D-Air didn’t receive much exposure from Rossi’s leg-breaking highside at Mugello in June, but you can clearly see it inflated in this picture and the rider credits it with limiting the extent of his injuries. “It was an impressive fall,” said Rossi from his hospital bed. “Aside from the leg injury, the day after I was surprised to notice that I did not have any bruises on my shoulders. Air-bag worked perfectly, it’s a great result considering that the suit maintains its comfort, I can’t feel it.”