MotoE

Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - After the first MotoE race, it’s not the present that really matters — it’s the future

Sunday’s historic electric first MotoE race at a grand prix event was only the very beginning of EV motorcycle racing

MotoGP’s first MotoE weekend was certainly historic. I’m 100 per cent certain that during the entire history of motorcycle grand prix racing there’s never been so many painful puns broadcast by commentators: the charge to the first corner was awesome, the racing was electrifying and there were plenty of shock overtakes. I could go on, but I’ll save you.

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Sachsenring MotoGP Subscriber Notes: Why Marquez Wins, Ducati's Decline, Viñales' Resurrection, And Impressions Of MotoE

Some things changed at this year's edition of the German Grand Prix, held at the Sachsenring. The race was organized by the ADAC, the German equivalent of the Automobile Association, instead of the former promoter, a local organization based at the circuit. The difference was immediately evident: the event appeared to run more smoothly and more efficiently, and some of the old peculiarities ("we've always done it that way") replaced with things that actually work. It felt like a much better Grand Prix, without losing any of the charm which had marked it out before.

Then there was the inaugural round of MotoE, the new electric bike racing class which joins the MotoGP series. History was made on Sunday morning, when eighteen Energica Ego Corsa motorcycles lined up for the first ever all-electric motorcycle race. The race was shortened from 8 to 7 laps after being declared wet, and then red flagged after 5 laps when Lorenzo Savadori crashed out at Turn 8 after being clipped by Eric Granado.

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2019 Sachsenring MotoE FP2 Result: Di Meglio Dethrones Tuuli

Niki Tuuli was the bridesmaid once again in the second practice session, this time getting demoted from the top of the timesheets by Mike Di Meglio, the Finnish rider having led the way for much of the session. Hector Garzo in third came less than a tenth of a second short of top spot, while FP1 leader Jesko Raffin kept close in fourth. Bradley Smith joined the top five, while Eric Granado was left with over half a second to find ahead of Saturday’s E-Pole.

Results:

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2019 Sachsenring MotoE FP1 Result: Raffin Tops First Official Practice Session

MotoE finally joins the MotoGP circus at the Sachsenring and Jesko Raffin steals the first headline for Dynavolt Intact GP, after leading the way for most of the session from Niki Tuuli. Alex de Angelis completed the top three, with Hector Garzo, race simulation winner Eric Granado, Xavier Simeon and Bradley Smith all finishing within a second of the leader.

Results:

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Nicolas Goubert On Rebuilding MotoE After The Fire, And Lessons Learned: Part 2 - Looking To The Future

Coming weekend, history will be made. For the first time, Grand Prix racing will welcome vehicles not powered by internal combustion engines, as the MotoE series makes its debut at the Sachsenring. It is the very first step on the long path toward a future where batteries replace burning hydrocarbons.

But the series got off to a rocky start, even before the first race. At the second test of the electric bike racing series, a fire started in the special tent containing all of the bikes, batteries, and chargers, destroying everything and wiping out the entire series in one fell swoop.

Since March, Nicolas Goubert, director of the MotoE series for Dorna, Energica, who build the spec electric bikes to be raced in the series, and Enel, who supply the charging technology to maintain the bikes, have worked at double speed to rebuild everything needed for the series, and get it ready for the inaugural race at the Sachsenring.

In Le Mans, I spoke at length to Goubert about the progress made in preparing the series, the challenges they had faced, and the lessons learned from the fire in Jerez. The fire highlighted some of the difficulties of an electric bike series, but just staging the series raises logistical and technical issues which nobody had foreseen.

Here is part 2 of the interview. If you want to read part 1, catch it here.

Q: Any logistics things that you haven’t thought of? Apart from the power supply in the charger, which you already said.

Nicolas Goubert: Yeah. We will be in charge of all the logistics. We’re trying to make the series as easy as possible for them. So basically it will be plug and play for them. They will arrive - when I say “they,” the teams. They will arrive with the crew.

Q: They turn up, set the bike up, the rider gets on the bike and rides, and that’s it?

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Nicolas Goubert On Rebuilding MotoE After The Fire, And Lessons Learned: Part 1 - After The Fire

Coming weekend, history will be made. For the first time, Grand Prix racing will welcome vehicles not powered by internal combustion engines, as the MotoE series makes its debut at the Sachsenring. It is the very first step on the long path toward a future where batteries replace burning hydrocarbons.

But the series got off to a rocky start, even before the first race. At the second test of the electric bike racing series, a fire started in the special tent containing all of the bikes, batteries, and chargers, destroying everything and wiping out the entire series in one fell swoop.

Since March, Nicolas Goubert, director of the MotoE series for Dorna, Energica, who build the spec electric bikes to be raced in the series, and Enel, who supply the charging technology to maintain the bikes, have worked at double speed to rebuild everything needed for the series, and get it ready for the inaugural race at the Sachsenring.

In Le Mans, I spoke at length to Goubert about the progress made in preparing the series, the challenges they had faced, and the lessons learned from the fire in Jerez. The fire highlighted some of the difficulties of an electric bike series, but just staging the series raises logistical and technical issues which nobody had foreseen.

Here is part 1 of the interview. Part 2 will follow tomorrow:

Q: I want to ask obviously about the progress, because that’s important, but also just in general about because setting up a completely new series, you’re going to run into things that you never thought of. But first of all, do you know what caused the fire yet?

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