Raceface: Gaining extra power from the perfect MotoGP helmet

Racing helmets - for world champion Marc Márquez they have an almost mystical meaning, Stefan Bradl sees them more as a practical part of his work gear and Valentino Rossi probably has the largest collection...

You might recognise them by their helmets -  head protection is like a second face for MotoGP pilots ... a raceface that is not just about looking the part, but also fitting well and providing safety, above all.

Protection...

...is the single most important characteristic for a helmet: “Unlike the bike, there are no spare parts for a body. As soon as you appreciate that, you realise how important head protection is for the riders,” says eight-time world champion Marc Márquez (who wears Shoei). While some felt it came late, MotoGP has introduced regulations on this form of protection. On 3 June 2019 the FIM Race Homologation Programme for Helmets (FRHP) came into effect - after three years of being drawn up with teams, riders and manufacturers.

Getting the right fit...

...is the second most important aspect: This can make all the difference in a race. "No matter how good the bike is, if you have a problem with your helmet, you won't succeed as everything takes place in your head during a race," says Marc Márquez. The Spaniard invests a lot of time in developing his helmets and attends design meetings. In addition to the fit, he is also interested in the aesthetics.

Stefan Bradl (wearing X-Lite) prefers to work on developing bikes than helmets, saying: “The high-end products that you can buy in the shops are very close to the helmets that I use. Of course we make adjustments to the interior so that it feels more comfortable, but otherwise there are no major differences."

The German rider goes through up to eight helmets per season, and sees head protection as a part of his work gear, saying: “For me as a racer it is a normal thing to put a helmet on, so it doesn't have any major symbolic meaning for me. I always prepare for my races in the same order though, so the manner in which I put my helmet on has almost become a ritual. "

Last but not least, the design:

Marc and Stefan agree - with a great design, the motivation for racing is enhanced. The world champion has an input into all the details of his raceface. “It has to be as perfect as the bike,” Marc says. His substitute is a little more relaxed, saying: “I'm involved a bit in the design and have at least been given a say. When it looks good, you just feel better."

For Valentino Rossi (wearing AGV), almost every one of his helmets has a very special story, as the record world championship winner explains in this video:
https://youtu.be/cT24CffcGfc

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