Electric Bike Race Series Survives Trial By Fire
When the first electric motorcycle was produced there were three questions:
- How fast does it go?
- How far will it go?
- When can I see two of them race?
We finally have an answer to the last question now that motorcycle racing’s premier championship has added an electric class.
The FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, is a six-round spec series where each team competes on identically prepared equipment. The field is comprised of six MotoGP independent teams and six Moto2 and Moto3 teams. The MotoGP teams receive two bikes each, the remaining teams one each.
Dorna Sports, the exclusive commercial and television rights holder to the MotoGP series, selected Energica Motorcycles as the sole manufacturer to produce the racing fleet. The Modena-based factory hand-built 18 race bikes to contest motorcycle racing’s most elite campaign. The bikes featured power of up to 120 kilowatts (about 160 horsepower), speeds of up to 270 kilometers per hour (165 mph) and carried 20 kilowatt-hour batteries.
A Series Up in Smoke?
The entire fleet of race-prepped Ego Corsas travelled to Circuito de Jerez for three days of pre-season testing prior to the inaugural race at the site of the Spanish GP. Practice on the opening day showed over 1.2-second faster lap times compared to the previous outing. Eric Granado posted the fastest time at 1:48.984.
Just after midnight on March 14th, a fire broke out in the shared MotoE paddock resulting in a total loss of the structure, all 18 race bikes, computers, charging infrastructure and tools. A short circuit was determined to have caused a fire that ignited the high-density battery that was part of the high-performance charger used at MotoE events. The motorcycles were not connected to the charging infrastructure at the time the fire began.
Determined to see the series continue and with the support of Dorna, Energica began the process of rebuilding. In a demonstration of solidarity with a fellow electric motorsport series, ABB FIA Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag sent a message to Dorna saying, “if they need our help, we’re here to help”, according to Motorsport.com.
The inaugural race was held July 7th at the German GP at Sachsenring, Niki Tuuli claiming the first ever MotoE victory. Second place would go to Bradley Smith followed by Mike Di Meglio.
The Austrian GP at the Red Bull Ring would be the site of round two. Another series first, wet conditions would prove challenging with several riders crashing out of the race. Misfortune continued as Tuuli’s motorcycle would fall victim to a fire while charging. It was quickly extinguished, and the race went on as scheduled with Di Meglio taking the win and series points lead. Xavier Siméon would take second followed by Smith.
The San Marino and Rimini’s Coast GP will feature rounds four and five with a race on Saturday, September 14 and a race on Sunday, September 15.
Rounds five and six conclude the series at the Valencian GP in the same two-day format, November 16 and 17.
A Fan Favorite
The racing has proven to be as exciting as was the path to the first event. Riders are giving their all as they learn the boundaries of their machines. The quieter motors still manage to provide an audible indication of speed for a viewer with lap times to back it up. We’ve seen crashes, heartache, redemption and victory, and we’re only a few rounds into the season. The fans seem to want as much coverage as they can get on the MotoE series, and we’re right there with them.
Visit www.motogp.com for more information.
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