MotoGP: Fabio’s Secret: The Double-Velcro Zipper Trap
MotoGP fans saw the extraordinary spectacle of Yamaha factory rider and World Champion Fabio Quartararo riding with his Alpinestars leathers open at the 2021 Catalunya Grand Prix. Even more astounding, Quartararo reached into his suit, grabbed and discarded his chest protector during the final few laps of the race. Riding without the body armor and with his leathers unfastened earned him a three-second penalty which dropped him from third to fourth in the final results.
While speculation abounded about what had gone wrong, a post-race investigation by Alpinestars found Quartararo’s suit intact with the zippers fully functional. Apparently, Quartararo did not zip his suit fully at the beginning of the race, with the zipper’s pull tab exposed to the wind and not hidden beneath the Velcro flap designed to cover it. Quartararo does not want that to happen again.
One of the racer’s leather suits from later in 2021 was on display at the Alpinestars introduction of its new Racing Absolute V2 leathers at Sonoma Raceway. A careful examination of Quartararo’s suit revealed that the racer now uses a double-flap system to ensure that the zipper pull stays put.
The first flap has a V-shaped notch in it. The zipper tab is pulled all the way up, the first flap is closed, and the tab sits in the notch. A second flap then is closed over the first, capturing the tab between a protective leather covering and the middle flap.
It may be extreme over-engineering. But think about how much money in terms of bonuses from Yamaha and his personal sponsors that it cost Quarataro when he was demoted from the podium, and all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so extreme…
The middle flap on MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo’s zipper pull retention system closes underneath the tab once it is fully zipped, and then the tab sits in a V-shaped notch. Photo by Michael Gougis.
The middle flap then folds over the pull, locking it into the up position. Photo by Michael Gougis.
A final outer flap captures the zipper pull securely, protecting it from failure during a crash. Photo by Michael Gougis.