Starting next year, Ducati will supply the bikes for the MotoE World Cup for four years. In this post, we did a summary of the Ducati MotoE project, gathering all the information currently available on the electric motorbike made in Borgo Panigale.
If you follow Epaddock regularly, you are already fully up to date on the Ducati MotoE project thanks to the posts published in the past months. If, on the other hand, you are an occasional reader, or are on Epaddock for the first time, here you can make up for lost ground by finding all the information available on the prototype of the electric motorbike that the Italian manufacturer is building for the MotoE World Cup 2023.
On October 21, 2021, Ducati announced that it would become the sole supplier of the MotoE World Cup, the electric class of MotoGP, starting from 2023. The agreement signed with Dorna Sports, organizer and promoter of the MotoGP World Championship of which MotoE is part, has a duration of four years, until 2026.
This is a historic step for the Borgo Panigale motorcycle manufacturer which, following its custom of using racing competition as a laboratory for technologies and solutions that then become reality for all motorcyclists, enters the world of electric bikes starting from the sportiest sector, that of the electric class of the MotoGP World Championship.
Ducati MotoE it is the result of the joint work of the Ducati Corse team and the Ducati R&D designers, led by Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director.
The most critical challenges in developing an electric racing motorcycle are related to the batteries' size, weight, and range. The declared target of Ducati is to make available to all participants of the MotoE World Cup electric motorcycles that are high performing and are characterized by lightweight. The stated focuses of the project, in addition to performance, are weight containment and constant power delivered over the race, also achieved thanks to the attention to the development of a cooling system fit for the purpose.
The first photos
Just before Christmas, Ducati unveiled its electric prototype, currently called 'V21L'. On this occasion, the bike was taken to the track by Michele Pirro, professional rider and Ducati test rider since 2013, who tested the technical characteristics and potential of Ducati's first electric motorbike at the Marco Simoncelli Circuit in Misano.
Ducati MotoE on the track
In mid-April, Ducati released a video, filmed at the Vallelunga circuit, in which the MotoE prototype is ridden by Alex De Angelis. The rider from San Marino is a MotoGP veteran and a former MotoE rider, having taken part in the first two editions of the MotoE World Cup, in 2019 and 2020. The team of riders who are testing the Ducati MotoE and contributing to the development are: Michele Pirro, Alex De Angelis and Chaz Davies. Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali also admitted to riding the Ducati MotoE on track during tests held at the Mugello circuit.
It was during testing at Mugello in May that a video was recorded of an unprecedented start test with Chaz Davies riding the Ducati MotoE and Michele Pirro on the Ducati MotoGP. As you can see in the video below, in the first acceleration phase the two bikes perform very similarly, with 0-100% times of around 2,5 seconds.
Visualizza questo post on Instagram
The technical analysis
At the moment Ducati has not communicated any official technical data but from the photos it is already possible to do some assumptions about the technical solutions adopted on the “V12L”.
The most critical challenges in developing an electric racing motorcycle remain related to the size, weight and range of the batteries.
On the Ducati MotoE the battery is installed in a central position where the engine is located on an internal combustion motorbike. Probably the shape will not be a parallelepiped as in the present one MotoE, but it will have a more complex shape.
From the images you can see a carbon structure that contains the battery and which also performs as a structural part. Metal plates connect to the bottom of the carbon structure to complete the frame.
The electric motor is at the bottom, between the rear suspension linkage and the battery itself, and is positioned almost vertically with respect to the pinion. The position of the shaft of the electric motor and the pinion do not coincide, a sign that a fixed ratio reduction gear is present between them. From the images you cannot see the position of the inverter but the location of the charging point suggests that it is positioned behind the battery, towards the seat frame. This hypothesis is also supported by the motor power cables which run vertically from the inverter towards the motor.
Going back to the battery, it is immediately evident that there are no air intakes for its cooling, but instead, there is a large radiator that extends throughout the front section of the bike. The radiator is divided horizontally in two, with the lower part probably dedicated to the motor and the inverter while the upper part is for the battery cooling.
This element is the most interesting of the MotoE of Ducati. When asked directly, Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati, replied that they would have illustrated the battery cooling system in 2022 but the presence of a radiator and the absence of air intakes indicates that the V21L's battery is liquid-cooled.
This is the key technical element to achieve the stated targets of the project which are, in addition to performance, weight containment and constant power delivery over the race.
On the frame side, the two-armed rear swingarm stands out immediately, with large lightening gaps and the suspension equipped with progressive link. In several places we see an extensive use of carbon fiber and titanium for weight containment.
On the safety front, the green/red light on the sides of the bike is a must to show the bike electrically integrity and that it can be handled after an accident.
Regarding performances, only hypotheses can be made at present. The total weight could be around 210-220kg, the acceleration from 0-100km/h, as we have seen in the video, is similar to that of the MotoGP (about 2.5 sec) while the laptime should be between 2 and 3 seconds lower than those of the current MotoE.
Photo and video: Ducati
Interview with Claudio Domenicali
The MotoE of Ducati? With a light heart
To be updated on MotoE World Cup, subscribe to Epaddock's Whatsapp broadcast and receive all our news on your mobile phone in real time: find out how here.