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The fall that could’ve ruined Marquez’s weekend

Sunday morning’s Warm-Up crash for Marc Marquez brought more negative results than one may have imagined, with the championship leader having been handed two penalty points for failing to slow down under yellow flags. At the same time, the incident helped to confirm the effectiveness of his protective airbag race suit.

It was certainly a dramatic incident on race day morning, as Marquez lost control under braking for Vale corner. His Repsol Honda Team bike would collect the Monster Yamaha Tech3 machine of Cal Crutchlow, already in the gravel and the cause of the yellow flags as Silverstone marshals attended the scene. At the same time, the crash resulted in a dislocated left shoulder for 20-year-old Marquez.

After the Grand Prix on Sunday, race suit manufacturer Alpinestars released telemetry data of the crash explaining how the protective outfit responded. The trace graph accompanying this article shows the energy pattern of the data streamed by the upper body sensors in the Tech Air airbag suit. A change in the strength of the signals is noticeable at the first indication of a loss of control, when the energy trace causes the Tech Air system to deploy the airbags 0.168 seconds before the initial impact to Marquez’s left shoulder. Full inflation was recorded at 0.048 seconds after deployment, ensuring the protection was in place 0.055 seconds before impact.

The peak energy force in the accident was 22.55g and was largely concentrated on the left shoulder, which can be seen by the continuous activity in the data trace. The airbag remained fully inflated throughout the duration of the crash, ensuring that the maximum amount of energy was absorbed.

The rest of the story is already well documented: Marquez was taken to the circuit Medical Centre, where his shoulder was put back into position and any fractures were ruled out. The Honda rider was therefore able to start from pole position before finishing second in his intense battle with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

The morning’s crash would come back to haunt him in the form of two penalty points, applied for not demonstrating significant deceleration while the yellow flags had been flying during the Warm-Up. Race Direction decided that the points should be placed onto Marquez’s racing licence after reviewing footage of the moment, in which circuit personnel were adjudged to have been put at greater risk than necessary.

The quick reactions of the marshals ensured that nobody received any further injuries, while – as demonstrated by the photo sequence below – the airbag suit limited Marquez’s own injures, allowing him the opportunity to go on and collect 20 more points in his championship quest.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2013, Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

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