He has just been nominated by Ducati as the official tester for the MotoE also for 2023: he, who ended his career as a driver in the electric field, will have the exciting task of providing indications from the track. So here he shares some with us, with enthusiasm and a wealth of details.
Alex De Angelis seems truly grateful for his path, which makes him generous towards younger colleagues. He has raced in practically every known category, so he has an immeasurable wealth of experience. In addition, he has reached remarkable levels in every category in which he has raced, making him an authoritative interlocutor when it comes to going fast. That's why Ducati's choice to call him as a tester for the MotoE appears quite apt: not surprisingly, it has already been confirmed for the whole of 2023. Sammarinese, born in 1984, mounted on a motorbike as a child and practically never gone down again, "Dea" is experiencing yet another youth in the development project of the new Ducati electric motorcycle. The enthusiasm of having "done incredible lap times" is mixed with the awareness of contributing "to an innovative product". At the same time, the generosity mentioned above is expressed in the pleasure of "responding, if asked, to all the questions and doubts of the riders who will race next year: the bike is for them".
So: what is it like to be part of this intense development phase?
"Look, I am very happy with all the steps of my career! I retired from racing at the right time, and then this proposal for MotoE came from Ducati: after a year, I can say it was a fantastic experience. Working directly with a manufacturer, like a real official rider, was a pleasure and a unique beauty. The atmosphere of mutual trust created with the test team is also nice: with every lap on the track, the bike was getting better and better, and I was getting better and better. It was also a satisfaction to see a rider like Chaz Davies fully appreciate our work when he came to test at Mugello: and to see him go very fast with the bike I had developed!"
What is the work of a tester in practice?
"It is very varied and very intense. There are some sessions that we use to do some reliability tests or tests on the electronic controls and others to understand the bike's behaviour and reactions. There are some sessions where I focus on things Ducati has decided to test and others where the goal is to go as fast as possible. In this case, I ask the technicians to modify something on the bike between one session and the next. Sometimes you have to try a different frame configuration or check out different suspension settings. We have made a 360-degree development: from rideability to reliability, up to the fastest lap time".
On which circuits have you been?
"At the moment, we have been to Mugello, Misano, Vallelunga and Modena, while in October, we will probably go to Jerez. So to date, we will have done a total of about twenty days of track tests.
With two motorcycles at my disposal and the liquid battery cooling, in the three days of tests recently carried out in Vallelunga, I was always on the track; I lost count of how many laps and how many sessions I did! That is possible thanks to the liquid cooling of the battery, which keeps the cells at their optimum temperature both while the bike is on track and while it is charging. In this way, the battery can be recharged as soon as the bike returns to the pits while I go back on track with the second bike, and when I return to the pits, the first has already recharged, and I can go out for a new session. That will also greatly help the riders of the next championship to do more practice sessions during the pre-season tests".
Can you explain what riding style an electric motorcycle requires on track?
"The power delivery of an electric motor is completely different from that of a combustion engine; in particular, the initial acceleration of the former is almost unbeatable for the latter. So in slow curves, when exiting, the bike's acceleration is frightening. So you need to ride the electric bike like a MotoGP: go straight into the curve, raise the bike immediately and "open the throttle" as soon as possible. This allows you to make the most of the acceleration; if you accelerate with the bike still leaning, the tire starts to slide, and the electronics cut power, so you can't be as fast as you could. During the tests, we worked a lot on this aspect to find the right set-up and the best power map to get out of slow corners fast. In fast corners, on the other hand, you have already had the beauty of the electric motor; the torque is lower at high speed; therefore, when you are still leaning with your knee on the ground, you can “open all the throttle” as if you were riding a Moto3".
What tires did you use during the tests, and how did you feel?
“Same Michelin tires supplied to the teams for the 2022 championship. I found myself very, very well; no problems with duration or temperature or grip problems. I can confirm that Michelin's tires for the championship are also working very well on the Ducati MotoE. In the races of the MotoE in recent years, it has been a problem that you go to the grid from the pits, but you do not have the warm-up lap available to run in the tires well, especially on those tracks where you turn little on one side of the tire. At this point, what happens is that you start the race with the tires not yet well set, and this gave some riders some rear grip problems in the first corners of the race, also causing crashes. This problem will be there again next year, but thanks to the electronic controls of the Ducati MotoE, in particular, the Slide Control system, it will at least prevent the rider from falling in the event of losing grip on the rear, which is not so bad”.
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