An Update On Valentin Debise: Will Miss Barber Test

Valentin Debise crashed out of the lead of the Daytona 200. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise suffered a massive highside when he touched a white paint line entering the infield kink on the 10th lap of the 77th running of the Daytona 200 on March 17. The rear of Debise’s Suzuki GSX-R600 snapped sideways and catapulted the Frenchman high into the air and he flew a long way before hitting the ground and sliding off the race track. Data acquisition showed Debise was traveling 135 mph (217 kph) at the time of the crash.

Debise was transported directly to Halifax Medical center where he was diagnosed with a concussion and compression fracture of the 3rd lumbar vertebra. The injuries could have been worse if Debise had not been wearing high quality safety gear, including Arai helmets, Furygan leathers, and TCX boots, according to his team’s press release. Amazingly, Debise was discharged from the hospital later that evening and flew back to France the next day (March 18).

Debise will miss the official MotoAmerica preseason test this coming Monday and Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park, but is working hard to be fit in time for the season opener at Road Atlanta. We caught up with Valentin after he returned home to France.
How are you feeling?
I’m feeling good now, after my big highside crash.
What have you done since your crash at Daytona?
I flew home on Sunday afternoon (March 18), so I was in France on Monday morning. After that, I’ve already had two massages and seen my physio and been in the Jacuzzi – you know, all the recovery stuff.
Have you seen your doctor?
Yes, I have seen the physio. I send the picture from my scan to my doctor, and tomorrow we will figure out a plan and how long it will be before I can do physical exercise and be back on a motorcycle again and still be safe.
Is there any chance that you will be able to ride at the test at Barber Motorsports Park?
No way, because I have a fracture in my back. One week after breaking a bone in my back, it would be stupid to go there.
Debise’s Arai helmet did its job.

Were you surprised that you didn’t suffer more injuries in the crash?

Yes. When my brain started working again and I was able to see what was going on I was feeling bad everywhere. I wasn’t able to move anything. I mean, I was able to move but not much. I slept all that night in the hotel, so I was by myself. In the morning I felt pretty good and I was able to walk to go have breakfast. So that’s when I decided to fly back to France immediately even though I could have waited a couple of days.
Already, two days ago I stopped taking the pain killers. Since then I found a couple of new things that hurt, but nothing serious. Overall, I’m feeling really good. I just need to take my time.
Even if the doctor says I am okay to ride again, now it’s more about how I feel. I don’t want to go on the bike too soon and take a risk, because it’s nothing compared to a lifetime.
Have you seen the video of your crash?
Yes, and I hope that people will see that and it will change their minds and they will spend money on good helmets and good leather suits and be more safe. People think what we do is fun, but they have to know it is also dangerous and they need to be prepared. I just hope this will help some people.