Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

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Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

19th pictures

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP


Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

The leather suit has been repaired and will be made ready for return to the box.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Anto hums to everyone’s relief and sews the finished sleeve onto the suit.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

The damaged sleeve is quickly removed and the new one is ready.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP


Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Marco reads the crash data from the memory of the airbag control unit.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Anto prepares the required spare parts for Marc’s station wagon.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

The control LEDs on the airbag combination signal: There was a fall.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Jarno immediately starts cleaning the boots. Aside from the GP glamor, the business is obviously sober!

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

“Rider ok.”, but the machine and station wagon are damaged.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

No, not a seaman’s thread, but a love of detail. For every combination color and for every sponsor there is the right yarn in the appropriate thickness.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Chris, another member of the Alpinestars family, cleaning dirty boots.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Open seams, here on a glove, are rare and are quickly repaired.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Ready-made replacement sleeves simplify and speed up repairs on site.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Cals “Uffbabbr”. Spare parts such as sponsor and brand imprints for Crutchlow’s leather are always at hand.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars has five pairs of boots in their trucks for MotoGP riders like Marc Márquez.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Logistician and driver attendant Jarno im “Subcamp”. He is the interface between the drivers and the sewing shop.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Marc Márquez went down in the infamous turn four in the third free practice session. What happens now is routine for the service crew, for us an exciting glimpse into everyday life in the MotoGP circus.

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

The spearhead of the service and R&D-Crew: Airbag specialist Marco (l.), Antonietta, the magician at the sewing machine and driver assistant Jarno (r.).


Station wagons, jackets & pants

Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Alpinestars racing service in MotoGP
What happens to a lintel station wagon?

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What happens to a MotoGP rider’s leather suit after a fall? Will it be thrown in the bin or will it be repaired? And who are the people who take care of the robes? PS visited the Alpinestars Racing Service in Valencia.

Robert luck


Moto GP riders always look leaked and only seem to be wearing brand new leather suits. Only when you stroll across the motorhome parking lot of the Moto2 and Moto3 pilots in the paddock do you see leather with battle marks – mostly more or less well repaired. This begs the question, why do the top stars always look like they were peeled from the egg? Do they get everything for free? How many leather suits does a MotoGP rider own? Are these disposable items or are the suits repaired after a fall??

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What happens to a lintel station wagon?

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At the last GP of the 2014 season in Valencia, Alpinestars gave PS a look behind the scenes over the shoulders of the Racing Service team.

The team behind the scenes

Contrary to expectations, there is already a lot of hustle and bustle on Saturday morning in the small, eight-square-meter workshop in which all Alpinestars riders in the MotoGP field are looked after and supplied. This is housed in the rear of a truck trailer. A steep staircase leads to the “Flick-Stube”. Jarno, Marco and “Anto”, who is actually called Antonietta, whirl inside. All three have been part of the racing circuit for years, on tour every season anew. Anto started at 16 years ago Alpinestars as a “patch maker”, as a cutter for pieces of leather for the Alpinestars leather suits that were completely new to the range at the time. This year she is not only the sorceress at the sewing machine in the paddock, but also the good soul of the service crew. When she first started work with the Racing Service in the paddock at Le Mans in 2004, her colleagues Jarno and Marco, who were present today, had barely outgrown their teens. Since then she has been working at the GP races in Europe every season – at overseas events the “boys”, as they call the Alpinestars pilots, have to do without their services.

Jarno, the Dutch driver supervisor, has been riding MotoGP around the world since 2008. Before that he was in the Superbike World Championship. Marco is the third in the group. He is the mastermind behind the Alpinestars airbag system. The studied mathematician with a master’s degree in business administration is responsible for the further development of the safety system and reads the crash data from the airbag control unit in the hump of the station wagon after every fall. In addition, the sensors and the wiring have to be checked – everything okay? If Marco gives the “go”, cleaning and repairs of the station wagon begin.

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Alpinestars racing service MotoGP

Station wagons, jackets & pants

Product test: leather suits up to 750 euros

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“I’m a shit and not a racer”

A mathematician and business graduate as an airbag developer? “I can’t help it! I love this scene, I love the racing action, and I want to help make the sport safer. And because I’m a shit and not a racer, I just have to bring my talent into the sport on another level, ”he says with a laugh. Meanwhile, Anto checks the sleeve of an Alex Márquez station wagon. “This blue always reminds me of John Hopkins’ Suzuki blue,” smiles the little Italian. “It gave me a sleepless night in Brno in 2009. John fell so often that weekend that I had to put together one out of three of his station wagons. Otherwise he would have started the warm-up in underwear on Sundays! “

Alpinestars drivers usually have four to five station wagons in circulation that are tailored to their needs and preferences. All of them are now equipped with the large race airbag system. Every fall is documented and the station wagon is repaired if possible. Still, Cal Crutchlow wore ten to twelve station wagons in 2014 alone. 

Marc Márquez fell in FP 3

The world champion and the figurehead of the brand causes excitement in the truck. Marc Márquez went down in the infamous turn four in the third free practice session. What happens now is routine for the service crew, for us an exciting glimpse into everyday life in the MotoGP circus.

Log of a typical process:

10.25 a.m .: Marquez goes down. “Rider o.k.” is the message, but the machine and station wagon are damaged.

11.30 a.m .: Driver attendant Jarno picked up the station wagon, gloves and boots from the box and brought them to the workshop. Everything is thoroughly inspected there, and Jarno immediately starts cleaning the boots. We notice that the left sole is badly worn from the “leg-out” brakes. Even with the MotoGP world champion, that’s not a reason for new kicks. Aside from the GP glamor, the business is obviously sober! Anto gets a quick overview of the damage to the station wagon. The control LEDs on the airbag combination signal: There was a fall, the airbag did not deploy.

11.35 a.m .: Anto prepares the required spare parts for Marc’s station wagon. The leather manufacturer has various parts such as sleeves and legs, and sometimes entire back pieces in storage boxes, with them for every driver they attend. While Antonietta collects the parts and creates space on the work surface, Marco reads the fall data from the memory of the airbag control unit. The Alpinestars race airbag system works with seven acceleration sensors the size of a small fingernail, which record the acceleration values ​​on the torso and extremities. Marco pulls this data out of the black box and evaluates it immediately. After checking the sensors, he releases the station wagon for repair. “This is armor from one of ‘my boys’. And I want as little as possible to happen to them when they fall – I’m like a mom, ”says Anto. Her look reveals that she is serious. “Your boys” have really grown dear to her over the years.

11.40 a.m .: Anto accelerates. She cleans the station wagon and makes a plan. What is damaged? Where does it start? To repair it, you have to know what was sewn in which order, where parts overlap and where not. First, carefully remove the plastic shoulder cap. To do this, the seams must be opened all around. Then she severed the entire right arm. A fiddling that she unwinds patiently and highly concentrated despite the time pressure. Her fingers, which are surprisingly delicate for this work, are routinely used with the sharp cutter, and there are no scars. No wonder: Anto is not available now, seems to be in her own world. The sleeve is off quickly, the new one is already ready. Marco shows us the read out data on his laptop. Lots of lines and numbers, an inscrutable mess for the lay eye. The math crack explains the chaos of the crash data from Marc’s easy exit. 2.8 seconds have passed from the “loss of control” – the moment when the airbag recognizes via the signals from the acceleration sensors that an abnormal driving situation has started – to the “end of accident”, when the pilot comes to a standstill. The airbag was not deployed because the pilot just slipped. The maximum load on the body was 6.7 g over a period of 20 milliseconds. Marco explains that these values ​​are absolutely uncritical with such a short exposure time. So he can give Anto the green light for the repair.

12 o’clock: From her only a quiet “gazzo” with three exclamation marks flew through the room, because she has a problem. It’s only a small one, but a time-consuming one. The replacement sleeve comes from the start of the season. Which wouldn’t be so bad if Repsol-Honda hadn’t changed the color of the stretch inlay on the sleeve from black to dark blue during the year. And sleeves with dark blue stretch are currently sold out, because the end of the season is imminent. But the station wagon must not remain unrepaired, because after the last race on Sunday, the first tests for next year are due from Monday.

What follows is the maximum penalty for people who do not sew professionally. Because Anto now has to remove the blue stretch from the scratched sleeve and sew it onto the new sleeve with the black stretch – of course before she can put the entire arm on the suit. The nice lady has become very quiet, looks briefly at the photographer and author and asks us to come back in an hour. She didn’t have to say anything, sometimes looks say more than a thousand words.

12.09 p.m .: Jarno comes back from Crutchlow from the Ducati box, brings a set of gloves. “Cal’s favorites,” he says, waving the clearly worn gloves in his hand. “Cal has a slightly swollen right hand, which is why the glove is a bit pinched. I’ll adjust it now, ”explains the young Dutchman.

12.45 p.m .: Anto is still busy with Marc’s sleeve but, to everyone’s relief, is already humming softly to himself.

1.30 p.m .: Caught! Anto sews the finished sleeve onto the suit. All safety-relevant seams are doubled and the leather is turned over. With nimble fingers and a rattling sewing machine, the combination of the new and old MotoGP world champion is completed.

1.45 p.m .: The finale, at least on the top, is getting closer. Anto fishes a new shoulder cap from her “Repsol” box. This thick plastic part is carefully and slowly sewn onto the shoulder area. Every stitch has to be right. The needle shouldn’t break off now, otherwise the cap would have to come down and start all over again.

14 o’clock: Around the top, Marc Márquez ‘Leder is tippitoppi again, Anto has to touch his right hip. The damage to the buttocks and thighs can be repaired with minimally invasive interventions. In other words, the sponsor patches are cut off and replaced, the roughened leather smoothed and treated with color. The whole action lasts three quarters of an hour.

2.45 p.m .: The leather suit has been repaired and will be made ready for return to the box. The second MotoGP qualifying is underway. Márquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi fight for pole position, Marco, Jarno and Anto follow the action live on the small monitor in the workshop. Anto’s eyes are glued to the screen, but she still says: “Look there! I don’t want to miss the intensity and tension of qualifying and the races. I’ve been fascinated by it for years. And every year I look forward to going out again with ‘my boys’ and living this life here. After all, I’ve known most of them for a very long time. Marc Márquez, for example, since he started as a rookie. Isn’t it great to have a job like that? ” 

2:50 p.m .: While the repaired leather is waiting to be transported back to the Repsol box, Marc falls again. Again on the right side. Again on the right sleeve. Anto is frightened like a mother, takes a deep breath and hisses a very quiet “gazzo”.

2:51 p.m .: Rossi drives Pole, but nobody cares anymore. The seamstress is already searching through the “Repsol” spare parts box and preparing herself practically and mentally for her contribution to the big MotoGP circus.

Interview with Cal Crutchlow

PS spoke to Alpinestars MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow about protective clothing and its development. Cal, who has only worked with Alpinestars since the 2014 season, is extremely enthusiastic. Of course, he receives a small allowance for wearing the “A with the star” logo. But what inspires him much more than the coal are the airbag technology and the service competence of the Italians.

Cal, you’ve been a member of the Alpinestars family for a year. What excites you the most?
First of all, of course, I’m happy that it finally worked out with Alpinestars in 2014. I think I chased them for almost ten years. Now the time has finally come.

Why did it take so long and why did you want to go to them so badly?
I think they only look after a certain number of athletes so that they don’t have to compromise on service. And that’s why I wanted to go to them. Your service know-how and your competence on the racecourse.

Please give us examples of this competence.
Okay, first of all, there are the important bits and pieces. If my station wagon tweaks me, I tell them and they correct it immediately. For example, today I have a swollen right hand and the glove pinches. I tell Jarno, your service man, and he’ll take care of it. They work on the glove until I have a better grip on the accelerator and brake. This is service, do you understand? And then there is this fantastic airbag system. They don’t just throw it at us. No, they involve us in the development. And this is about triggering times, triggering thresholds, protection areas, wearing comfort and much more.

The airbag system makes you faster or more courageous?
No man (laughs …), I wish it were. Then I would just order a bigger airbag and drive away everyone else out there! But seriously: Injuries are a serious part of the racing business. And Alpinestars is working hard to find ways to minimize injuries. Of course, that gives you a good feeling.

Do you actually clean your station wagons after a champagne shower on the pedestal itself?
Are you crazy, after the award ceremony I suck the thing out until it’s dry again (laughs loudly …). no,
Seriously: A big thank you to the Alpinestars crew for doing this for me. I respect that very much and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the service staff. You are all doing a great job. Thank you!

Do you have any other privileges?
No, basically I drive a tailor-made suit that anyone can buy. Apart from the airbag system and my personal cut, there are no exotic details on it. We also use the same protectors as in the series leather.

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