Once was enough for nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi, who was wearing a D-air Racing suit when he fell at Mugello in 2010, breaking his lower leg. “It was quite a crash!” Rossi admitted. “But apart from the injury to my leg, I was surprised to find I didn’t even have any bruising on my shoulder the day afterward.”
In fact, leg protection is the likely next frontier. The late Marco Simoncelli had tested a version of the current suit that was fitted with hip and leg bladders.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Blake Young wore a custom D-air Racing suit to victory at the final race of the AMA Pro American SuperBike series atNew Jersey Motorsports Park last fall. “When I put the suit on for the first time,” he said, “I was thinking to myself, ‘Is it going to be heavy?’ It wasn’t. ‘Is it going to fit right?’ It fit like all my other Dainese suits—comfortable as ever. In the first race, I didn’t get the result that I wanted, so going into the second race, I thought, ‘Well, maybe I’ll show Dainese how their suit works!’ I definitely took some chances and got the win. I was glad to be riding in the D-air suit.”
Will D-air Racing perform as claimed for you, too? Well, it’s uniquely certified to do so by Germany’s respected TÜV SÜD. An all-new standard, EN 1621-4, covers airbag function. Tests also addressed, among other things, climate change, aging, noise, vibration, electro-magnetic interference, chemical compatibility, perspiration and the effect of dirt and dust on the system.
As its name suggests, D-air Racing is intended for track use only; buyers will even be required to sign a waiver to that effect. Why track-only? “There are a couple reasons,” said McPerry. “One, the algorithms for street crashes from the studies we have done are much different than what you would have on the racetrack. That’s why the D-air Street, which will come out in the near future, is set up completely differently. It’s set up for head-on, side and rear impacts versus lowsides and highsides.”
D-stores in Costa Mesa, San Francisco and Chicago are first in line to get D-air Racing suits. Those shipments will be followed by more to a small number of Dainese-stocking dealers willing to go through the “certification” process.
“It’s basically understanding the history behind the product, the functions of it and how the service works,” explained McPerry. “The dealers won’t actually do the service themselves, but a customer doesn’t want to spend that kind of money from someone who says, ‘Uh, I don’t know.’ They have to have some knowledge about the product. We want to educate them as much as possible.”
McPerry’s advice to street riders? Be patient. “In Europe, just this year, we started producing the D-air Vest, which you can wear by itself, and two textile jackets, one of which is waterproof. The airbag still covers the shoulders and neck, but it also covers more of the torso because, again, street accidents are typically different than racetrack accidents.”
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