Tom Montano wears Alpinestars Advanced Safety Technology during the 2009 Isle of Man TTXGP practice session Wednesday.
The Isle of Man TT is the most challenging motorcycle race in the world. It is a treacherous sprint along a 37-mile public road course that snakes through the mountains, villages and historic terrain of the small British Isle. For over 100 years, amateurs and professionals alike have made the pilgrimage to the island to test the bounds of their bike, body and the forces of nature. The annual TT (Tourist Trophy) race is steeped in history and tradition and 2009 will introduce a unique intersection of past and future. On Friday June 12th, the roar of internal combustion echoing through the villages and mountains will be replaced by the whine of electric motors as 17 high- performance electric motorcycles take on the Isle.
While many an Alpinestars-armored rider have taken to the challenging landscape of the “Jewel of the Irish Sea,” over the years, the 2009 TT will provide Alpinestars a unique opportunity to gather data through the Advanced Safety Technology (AST) rider-mounted telemetry system. Mission Motors rider Tom Montano will be wearing a custom Alpinestars race suit, which will house the sophisticated Alpinestars AST pack. The pack is linked to unobtrusive sensors within the arms, legs and torso of the suit, which will record data via an arsenal of sensitive tools that include:
- A suite of tri axis acceleration sensors
- A central logging unit the same as used on Formula 1 Cars
- A data processing sub unit for analogue inputs (formula 1 spec)
- Two Military Specification GPS units
- Inertial Motion Unit (3 axis accel. / 3 axis gyro / 3 axis Earth Magnetic Field sensor)
- Interface / display board
Alpinestars has been testing and developing the AST system for five years now, with a roster of world-class motorcycle racers. The likes of Kenny Roberts Jr., Casey Stoner, Daniel Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden have all worn the AST system at legendary race circuits around the world. Given the extreme conditions of the Isle of Man circuit, it has been a valuable source of data and Alpinestars has gathered data at past TTs. This year however will be even more valuable with the addition of the TTXGP electric race.
In addition to a 600CC internal combustion bike, Montano will be piloting the Mission Motors Mission One electric motorcycle while competing in the TTXGP. This will be a unique opportunity for Alpinestars technicians to compare and contrast the telemetry and data readings between a traditional gas-powered motorcycle and a state of the art electric motorcycle. With vibration and mechanical movement significantly reduced, in theory the electric Mission One could possibly provide a purer data stream. Either way, this opportunity will afford an interesting analysis between an electric and an internal combustion powered motorcycle.
Since its inception, the AST system has been developed as the brain of a sophisticate rider-mounted airbag deployment system that Alpinestars is currently developing. With hundreds of laps worth of data collected, Alpinestars’ technicians have been able to gather invaluable information about how the airbag system will be deployed as well as what it takes to protect a rider in the event of an accident.
The AST system is currently being developed first for track/race use and the complete airbag system will be used in open competition within 2009. As with all of Alpinestars industry leading protective product, the airbag deployment system has been under testing and development in the extreme race environment first, before it is adapted to “street” use.