2012 Dakar Prep
From the driest deserts on earth to endless South American mountains, MRW Repsol KTM's Marc Coma will face the toughest conditions at 2012 Dakar.
And as the Spanish rider attempts to garner his fourth Dakar title during the 15-day race that will take competitors almost 5,600 miles, comfort and protection in these various will be of utmost significance.
To reduce the risk of injury in case of a crash, Coma will be wearing all the protective gear "suitable to a gladiator than an athlete": helmet, boots, knee guards, and armor that covers the body from the neck to the waist, also known as a cuirass.
The most important piece for Coma as he competes in his 10th Dakar in 2012 that runs from Mar del Plata, Argentina, to Lima, Peru, is his helmet. To protect the most vital part of his body, Coma relies on a full-face helmet by Scorpion EXO, which is "resistant but light and properly approved for competition, and is complemented by the goggles, with interchangeable screen, to face the sun or eventual scratches." Coma also uses cervical protection, which surrounds the neck and helps prevent spinal injuries.
In the high temperatures of South America, a simple stone or unexpected bump can cause a crash. MRW says "that is why the rider from Avià covers his torso with a cuirass that has protections in chest, back, shoulders and elbows. Over it, a jacket with the MRW colours offers the rider many pockets to carry documents and energy supplies, and zippers to allow ventilation, or not. On the other hand, the gloves of a Dakar motorcycle rider combine maximum comfort with the highest possible sensitivity in both hands."
For the lower limbs, Coma uses Alpinestars boots and knee guards for protection.
MRW says: "Though there are many safety measures that can be taken before facing the Dakar, the best precaution is the talent of the rider. The technique, common sense, maturirty and the control of the bike are characteristics that perfectly describe a rider like Marc Coma, who will try to achieve in Lima the fourth Dakar win of his sporting career."
Expand the first picture above for a graph of each protective piece of gear Coma will use during 2012 Dakar (click on picture, then expand using white expansion cross).