Data from Dovizioso crash shows why airbag suits are life savers

Data from Andrea Dovizioso and Fabio Quartararo's crash during the British MotoGP at Silverstone shows how their Alpinestars Tech Air leathers played their role

Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati MotoGP

Safety in motorsport is and should always remain paramount and though tragedy has struck on more than one occasion this year already – even on four-wheels with the recent death of Anthoine Hubert in a Formula 2 race – it important to recognise the quantum leaps made in standards over the years.

This was no more apparent than during the recent British MotoGP event at Silverstone where a violent accident involving Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Petronas SRT Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo left both feeling rather sore, but otherwise unharmed.

For those yet to see the lap one, turn one Silverstone smash [do so below], Quartararo lifted to avoid collecting the out-of-shape Alex Rins ahead, but when he twisted to accelerate again instead snapped the grip on colder tyres and fell.

A heavy impact for the Frenchman alone, worse followed for the hapless Dovizioso, who had nowhere to go but directly into the stricken Yamaha, sending him up and then down hard, while his fuel laden GP19 turned into barbecue.

Both took a trip to hospital, the latter of particular concern after suffering memory loss initially, but they were back on their bikes later in the week at the Misano test.

Airbag leathers do their job in Dovizioso-Quartararo crash

Whilst bikers are inevitably more exposed than their four-wheel counterparts, deaths have often been the result of unfortunate circumstances that are hard to protect against – such as being struck by a rider behind you or, in Luis Salom’s case, sliding in the airbag fence but then being collected by his own bike.

Indeed, Dovizioso and Quartararo’s smash is a crash scenario that can be foreseen but hard to prevent from happening… after all, one rider crashing in front of a pack of bikes naturally raises the chance of involving another one but there are dozens of ways in can occur.

Data released by Alpinestars – who construct the Tech-Air airbag system in their leathers - reveals how it did its job in deflecting the impact suffered by both riders.

Quartararo’s fall lasted 4.7s, with the airbag fully inflated and ready for impact 0.060s before it hit the Tarmac. His incident was more drawn out but ultimately not as violent.

Dovizioso’s crash lasted 4.8s and his airbag inflated 0.150s before he hit the ground, but after he hit the Yamaha initially. This is a good thing because the suit understood to prime itself for the more serious element of the entire sequence (hitting the ground), proof that Alpinestars’ work to programme the technology to recognise what type of accident the rider is happening helps it protect more effectively.

It’s also worth noting Dovizioso’s crash impact was 35G’s, which is probably why his brain and its memory needed a moment just to catch up.

No crash will ever be 100 per cent safe in motorsport, but we are creeping closer and closer to it all the time. Those responsible for making this happen are the real [unsung] heroes in motorsport…

As a bonus, here is Dovizioso - appropriately enough - testing the airbag deployment last year. Spoiler alert, it's very funny - though it does take on a slightly different form in light of this accident...