A person blinks roughly eight times per minute to restore the eye’s natural lacrimal film, but this doesn’t happen to MotoGP riders while racing. This, according to a study carried out by SIFI, a leading firm in the opthalmic sector, together with Team LCR Honda.
Here’s what happens
The ‘Driving Vision Science’ (DVS) research project, dedicated to the study of the visual reactions of riders racing at the world’s circuits, has discovered that MotoGP riders blink just once every three minutes, and that this occurs within the particular microclimate that is created inside their helmet. Bearing in mind that a lap of the Mugello track takes roughly 1 min. 50 in MotoGP, this means completing one and a half laps without blinking.
This reaction is due to the extreme conditions generated by visual strain and physical and mental concentration, and it is this that the SIFI experts have investigated in MotoGP. Motorcycling at its highest level involves significant physical/mental stress, also visual, which makes it ideal testing ground.
In carrying out this research, the experts studied Takaaki Nakagami, who will compete for Team LCR again this year, and Cal Crutchlow, now test rider for Yamaha. The aim is to develop specific behavioural solutions and, a little further down the line, to be able to test products that can improve the visual performance of all those who may be subject to stress and significant visual strain during their work or leisure activities.
Translated by Heather Watson