A new era in rider safety will begin in this weekend's British Grand Prix at Donington Park, when world championship leaders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo will use Dainese's D-air system in a MotoGP race.

Lorenzo used the 'airbag leathers' during practice for last weekend's German Grand Prix, after sustaining injuries in the previous US round, and believes they are ready to race.

"I'm very proud to participate in the D-air Racing system development project," he said. "I believe this to be an extremely important innovation. After my falls in Laguna Seca, I no longer had any doubt that it was time to start wearing this new suit, which certainly offers more safety than the standard suit.

"Dainese has taken big steps forward in its perfection of the system, and we racers can make a further contribution in the creation of the prototype: we can't stop now!

"Like any innovation, it takes a little time to get used to wearing the new suit, but I feel much safer with the system on and that's the most important thing. I'd like to thank the entire Dainese team for all the precious work they've done to make motorcycle riding safer," added the double 2009 race winner.

After general fitting tests were completed, Rossi also decided to wear the D-air suit during Sunday's race.

The reigning six time MotoGP world champion has been following the development of the project closely and, in the last year, has worked extensively with Dainese Technology Center technicians to gather the data required for its perfection.

In the lower grand prix classes, reigning 250cc world champion Marco Simoncelli as well as Thomas Luthi (250) and Michael Ranseder (125) will also use the D-air Racing system this weekend.

In November 2007, a D-air Racing airbag worn by Simoncelli was deployed for the first time during competition in the season-ending Valencian Grand Prix race (see pictures below).

Since then the system has been constantly refined to improve comfort and integration into the leathers. The volume of the sack has also been reduced, whilst the protective areas were redistributed and the system's inflation pressure increased.

When opened, the areas protected are primarily the shoulders and the collar bones; furthermore, the airbag sack creates a surface for the resting and support of the helmet that limits the movement of the neck. The airbag deflates by itself and the suit returns to its original form.

The new device is housed completely inside the suit and therefore does not require removal after opening because it is the suit itself that expands to permit the raising of the sack.

The total weight has been reduced by around 20% since the 2007 version.

For 2009, an electronic user interface (represented by a three-colour l.e.d. positioned on the suit's upper right arm) was introduced to improve system feasibility and simplified control.