In the last round of the MotoE World Cup, Alessandro Zaccone was involved in a high-side and in a clash with another rider who hit him while he was on the ground; Zaccone came out almost unscathed from the terrible accident. Here we explain how the tracksuit protected him in the collision against a 260kg motorcycle.
The San Marino GP was Zaccone home race in which to play for the title of the MotoE 2021; in addition, he arrived at the round as a favourite, even if the minimum advantage over his opponents promised an uncertain fight until the last corner.
Unfortunately, an accident at turn three forced him to retire and miss Sunday's race due to bruises, losing the chance to win the championship.
These were the sporting consequences of Zaccone's accident, while the medical ones were: the fracture of two vertebrae, a fracture in the pelvis and the detachment of an ala sacralis. However, given the dynamics of the accident, the Italian rider was very lucky; after thirty days of rest, he has started rehabilitation. Now he is back on track in Jerez for the tests of the Moto2 in which he will race next year.
Why should a rider consider himself lucky if he has a fracture of two vertebrae and a fracture of the pelvis? Because following the high-side on the first lap, Zaccone found himself on the ground with the whole group of motorbikes arriving behind him. One of them hit him, hitting him directly in the back. Unfortunately, this year, we have seen how it can be lethal to be hit even by a Moto3 that weighs 80kg, but the MotoE weighs 260kg plus the rider's approximately 70kg; we are talking about a lot of energy being discharged on the rider's body. Apart from the luck that invariably plays a role in every accident, what saved Zaccone from much more severe consequences? The answer lies in Zaccone's tracksuit and in the special airbag he mounts.
Immediately after the Misano race, we contacted MugenRace, the company that produces the tracksuit, to understand better how Zaccone's protection system worked. They explained to us that what saved Zaccone's life was the special airbag that fits the MugenRace tracksuits. The airbag is made by the French company Helite and has a capacity of 28 liters, representing the category's reference value. But an airbag alone might not have been enough to protect Zaccone so effectively. The MugenRace tracksuit airbag also has a unique shape. Once inflated, it also protects the rider's neck, an extremely critical area that often is not protected against impact.
As stated by MugenRace:
“Our airbags offer a large area of protection from the head to the coccyx, including cervical vertebrae. They also contribute to the stiffening of the trunk to stabilize the vital organs: chest, lungs, pancreas, abdomen, stomach, liver. In addition to the complete protection of the spine, the trunk is supported to resist hyperflexion better."
The airbag of the MugenRace tracksuits interacts with various sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope and GPS) that monitor the rider's movements at a frequency of one-thousandth of a second. When a dangerous situation is identified, the control system commands the airbag's inflation, which occurs in 55 milliseconds. At that point, the airbag creates protection that extends across the rider's entire back to protect the neck against shocks and hyperextension. Any impact is then distributed along with the entire protection system, preventing limited areas of the rider's body from excessive stress.
In the following links you can find more information on MugenRace suits and read the interview with Alessandro Zaccone who will race next year in the Moto2 World Championship with Team Gresini Racing.
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