Grand Prix motorcycle racing pits the world’s best manufacturers, teams, and riders against one another for the ultimate prize. Those high stakes inevitably lead to even higher speeds, and MotoGP organizing body Dorna Sports prioritizes safety as a result.
In recent years, the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) supported those efforts by standardizing helmets under its FIM Racing Homologation Programme (FRHP). Despite the regulations promoting advanced technologies in the name of safety, Mips (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) has remained sidelined—until now. In 2023, Aprilia rider and seasoned MotoGP vet Aleix Espargaro debuts the Mips-equipped Kabuto F17 Racing helmet.
“By its nature, the MotoGP class pushes everyone and everything involved with it to the limit and that’s part of the reason why it’s known around the world to be the pinnacle of track racing,” explained Mips CEO Max Strandwitz. “Having recognition on a global platform of the Mips safety system, and with Aleix as an advocate, is fully in line with our mission of leading the world to safer helmets.”
Espargaro switched from KYT to Kabuto following the 2022 season. Setting the F17 Racing model apart, the innovative new Mips Integra TX system integrates a patented low friction layer into the helmet’s padding. Like all Mips-equipped lids, Kabuto’s flagship model mitigates impact and rotational forces by allowing slip between planes within the helmet. The F17 not only achieves these goals but maintains comfort in the process.
“I’m very proud to be the first MotoGP rider to use the Mips safety system with my Kabuto helmet. Since I have been using the Mips system, I have not noticed any difference in the comfort of the helmet, but I personally feel safer riding in the MotoGP,” admitted Espargaro. “As you all know, Mips’ systems have been used in cycling for years, and from now on I also use the Mips system in the premier motorcycle championship in the world and I’m happy to help by sharing my experience. In my opinion, bringing Mips into our sport helps put a needed spotlight on helmet safety.”