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Designing in the rain

Designing in the rain

It was only a mirage. The MotoGP circus rumbled into Motegi yesterday and was greeted by a gentle autumn sun that raised expectations and awoke optimism. However, despite weather forecasts predicting dry and sunny conditions throughout the weekend, the weather in Motegi today was of another era: damp, wet, grey and cold. As the rain fell the riders dug into their boxes and pulled out their raingear and the spectators´ eyes were focused on picking out their favourite pilots from the new array of colours on show.

Loris Capirossi and Alex Barros emerged in all-black suits, with just the name of the manufacturers Spyke written in red and yellow respectively on the riders´ arms and chests. A plain design which was in complete contrast to that of Carlos Checa and Max Biaggi, whose outfits were identical copies of their habitual leathers. Different styles were even apparent in the same team boxes. For example at Repsol YPF, Tohru Ukawa wore a discrete white number, whilst Álex Crivillé opted to stick to his colours of war. During a brief period when the rain stopped falling, Crivillé undid his suit and let it flap in the wind like a cape, earning himself the nickname ´Batman´, which reverberated around the pit lane.

An Alpinestars representative confirmed to that they have made only five rain outfits identical to the riders´ leathers: those of Crivillé, Checa, Noriyuki Haga, Garry McCoy and Daijiro Katoh. The reproductions have been created using a system called thermal sublimation, which integrates fibre and colour without allowing it to run or disappear altogether.

Dainese, for example, have combined identical suits (such as that of Biaggi) with white outfits that maintain the sponsor logos from the leathers, as worn by Valentino Rossi. Meanwhile Spidi have made transparent suits for Norick Abe and Jose Luis Cardoso.

500cc, 2001

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