David Emmett interviews Nicolas Goubert, the director of MotoE

David Emmett interviews Nicolas Goubert, the director of MotoE
The start of the race of the MotoE at the Sachsenring

David Emmett is the director of Motomatters and one of the most respected journalists in the motorcycle racing world. Nicolas Goubert was for years the head of Michelin for MotoGP and is now the executive director of the MotoE World Cup, the new electric class of MotoGP. From the meeting of the two on the occasion of the Le Mans GP, a long two-part interview was born on Motomatters.com; here we propose some passages of the interview. The first concerns the fire in Jerez which destroyed the entire Epaddock (the name of the paddock of the MotoE) including all motorcycles and equipment.

The paddock destroyed by the fire in Jerez

Do you know the cause of the fire now?
At the moment the investigation is still ongoing, we know that it has developed into a part of the structure that was not assigned to the teams. We were aware of the risks: a fire or a short circuit. For those who live in paddocks, they know that events can happen, even in MotoGP last year a Suzuki was destroyed after it caught fire. Here the problem was that everything was in the same space, with divided boxes the fire would have covered two or at most three teams.

Will you change anything for the races?
Surely for the championship races we will change the layout of the various areas of the Paddock, such as the charging zone, but we are still talking about it.

Le Energica Ego Corsa rebuilt on the track for tests in Valencia

Energica he rebuilt all the bikes in just over two months; awesome for a small builder.
Yes, he is a small builder but the day after the fire they were already up and ready to leave. The main problem was having the components from all suppliers in time (battery cells, forks, tools, charging columns - ed). Frankly, I don't think it could have been done in less time than that. Hats off to Energica and to all the people who made the restart possible: Dell'Orto, Brembo, Marchesini; it is not easy to rebuild everything in just over two months because it is a material specifically made for it.

The first tests of recharging with the MotoE in Jerez

In these months what have you faced with unexpected, apart of course from the fire?
When we did the first test in Jerez last November, they had planned 3 sessions for each day. Only the refills did not work as expected. The columns are the same as those found on the road network and ten or more had never been paralleled by absorbing energy from a common source. On the street each is on its own. (In Jerez some riders between one session and the next were unable to recharge the bike to 100% and have lapsed partially - ed) The voltage of the current is 380V and the management software had been modified to make them work in parallel from the same power source, but it was not enough. The reloading capacity has greatly influenced the rules of the races; think for example of a restart: it must be completely different from that of a normal race because you cannot simply fill the tank, you have to recharge the battery and it takes more time and cannot take place on the grid but only in the paddock.

Josh Hook of the Octo Pramac team MotoE

Moving in the paddock, will the bikes have to be pushed?
Yes, for security reasons, we don't want them to move among the people who crowd the paddock in a race weekend. Always with regard to safety, each motorcycle has an acoustic alarm that comes on when the limiter is inserted in the pit lane (even if some riders forget to turn it on - note) and two lights, one on each side, which indicate whether the bike is safe from the electrical point of view. Green light ok, red light nobody can touch the bike except authorized personnel. We have thought of many solutions to improve safety but we know that during race weekends new problems will come out, that's why races are made.

What will be the biggest surprise for the fans?
The sound, because it is really very very different. I'm sure the race will be fun to watch. We have the same bikes. We have some famous names. We have pilots from ten different nationalities. We have everything to engage the public during the races, the fact that they will be short races is not a big problem, I'm pretty confident about this.

Niki Tuuli, from the Ajo team MotoE on the track at the Sachsenring

The sound of the bikes passing over the curbs becomes reality, because it is a noise that you never hear. Then you realize, wow, that's terrible. You can really feel the vibration, and it's not something you feel if you don't drive.
Yes, you can also hear the bar of soap crawling on the asphalt; I think on TV if we can put the microphone in the right place on the bike it will be interesting. If we can do a good job on TV, then everything will be easier. However on TV you never hear the real sound. For the people on the track it's different, it's a big question mark. Surely someone will say, "Hey, but it doesn't make enough noise." But some people will like it because it's a very different sound, it's very futuristic.

For the complete text of the interview in English, please refer to the Motomatters.com link: part 1 (link) and part 2 (link)