The Aragon Grand Prix will mark a turning point in the 2022 MotoGP season as the spectacular first-lap clash between Marc Márquez and Fabio Quartararo reshuffles the championship cards in favor of Francesco Bagnaia. The reigning champion, forced to retire, saw his lead over rival Ducati drop from 30 to 10 points…
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“I don’t remember exactly the crash, but a lot of riders made mistakes and went wide: Marc spun, he slid and I hit the back of his bike, so he stopped very early. It was a race thing, but it sucks” lamented number 20.
But this fall from elimination has more than just sporting consequences: Fabio is also suffering from burns to his chest and stomach, which have forced him to wear heavy bandages this week ahead of the next race in Japan. Fortunately, Nice ensures that it does not suffer unduly despite some discomfort.
“It was a little weird at first because it hurt a little bit, but after a few rounds you get used to it and it doesn’t affect the ball as much.” he said Friday afternoon after finishing third, also the 16th of the 20 scheduled races.
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His burns are precisely the hot topic (!) of the queen category as they highlight a failure of his Alpinestars suit, which opened during the accident. The n°20 found his skin directly against the tarmac during his slide out of turn 3, especially since the Yamaha rider is wearing nothing under his skin!
“Yet?!“, will exclaim our readers who remember that the Frenchman had already been last year during the Catalunya Grand Prix, when his dress had opened up to the navel in the middle of the race. The Yamaha rider had been sanctioned for this incident. in a debatable manner moreover.
However, the circumstances are not comparable, since a bad manipulation was at the origin of this unexpected opening in Barcelona: the slide of the rack would not have been placed correctly under the safety line, in the top of the slide. In Aragón last week, the zipper engaged properly but opened after impact…
A combination is opened a little too often
Watch footage of the incident in slow motion shows Fabio Quartararo’s suit is closed when he is kicked on the handlebars of his Yamaha after the impact with Marquez, but is wide open as the Frenchman slides at full speed by the asphalt
A turbulent return to racing for @marcmarquez93
—MotoGP (@MotoGP) September 18, 2022
What happened between those two moments? For Alpinestars, who studied the accident from all angles (!), the answer is simple: Fabio was hit by the front wheel of his bike after touching the ground, contact which – added to the tension caused due to the deployment of the airbag – would be the cause of the zipper breaking.
“Our analysis led us to conclude that the inflated airbag at the first impact stretched the suit significantly: due to the abrasion resistance between the back of the suit and the asphalt during the fall, it generated a tensile stress. (on the zipper, editor’s note)”, explains the Italian manufacturer to our colleagues from .
“Then when the front wheel of the bike came into contact with Fabio’s chest, it grabbed the leather of the suit and strained the resistance of the zip beyond any level recorded in the thousands of falls we’ve had . analyzed so far.“, assures the equipment manufacturer.
The tire rubbing against the suit during this brief contact would have resulted in what Alpinestars coyly describes as “the consequent failure of the closing teeth“. In other words: the break “consequent“of his zipper, the opening”consequent“of their combination and exposition”consequent“of his skin!
“This conclusion comes from the fact that all elements of the dress are intact, including the seams, including those that attach the zipper to the dress.“, specifies the transalpine brand, which is already working to develop”solutions to prevent this event from happening again“.
A flimsy closure?
Alpinestars’ explanations seem to indicate an unfortunate combination of circumstances, a delicate situation to anticipate when developing equipment, including high-end equipment. As an indication, the Absolute Racing suit with integrated airbag – public version of the tailor-made for Fabio – costs a paltry 2600 euros!
However, this is the second closure issue involving Fabio Quartararo and other similar issues have also been seen, notably at the Austrian Grand Prix with Jorge Martin’s suit from the same manufacturer (screenshot above). .
“I hadn’t noticed – I checked the footage from the video and it was actually a bit open. I imagine Alpinestars is working on it“, the Ducati-Pramac rider had then commented soberly, no doubt very happy to have escaped the same penalty as Fabio the previous year. Double standards for the allocation of penalties between French and Spanish riders? !
Mind you, Fabio was not at the end of his troubles last Sunday in Aragon: the tricolor went to the mat for the second time with the scooter that brought him back to the box after his big cabriolet! The incident – not serious – happened in the corridors at the edge of the track, when the track marshal on the handlebars found himself in front of another scooter coming in front of…
“After I fell, the steward hit a scooter and I fell a second time“, explains Fabio.It was a pretty quick fall – luckily I hadn’t taken my helmet off and I wasn’t hurt.“.
Nakagami, the other victim by Mark in Aragon
More fear than harm for Fabio who, in his misfortune, can consider himself lucky to have escaped with “only” a few burns: the consequences could have been much more dramatic, even during this scooter fall during which his attention relaxed.
Proof of this is with the second rider forced to retire after contact with Marc Márquez during the Aragon Grand Prix: Takaaki Nakagami, hit head-on on the right flank by the Honda official four corners after the collision with Fabio’s Yamaha (from 1min19). in the video above)!
The Japanese rider took off with damaged tendons in his right hand, forcing him to undergo an operation before going in front of his home crowd. Márquez justifies his brutal exit towards the Honda-LCR by a loss of control of his RC213V during the activation of its suspension lock, a priori due to a piece of fairing from the M1 that got stuck in the Honda…
“I think Marc has gone a bit overboard.“, Johann Zarco believes for his part. “I like his style and he is one of the strongest, but moves like that in the race after the contact with Fabio, when he feels he has this problem on the bike, maybe it was too much. I hate to say this because I like Marc, but he went too far“.
Hard to give good or bad to Johann, who nevertheless is not in the habit of criticizing his rivals without reason… In the end, Marc Márquez and Alpinestars are somewhat in the same situation: neither of them is directly responsible of this series of events, but both of them might have taken certain precautions to avoid it…