Flair, frankness and experience: with his almost forty-year history in the racing world, first as a driver and then as a manager, Hervé Poncharal is one of the key figures in the paddock. For this, his analysis of the first season of the MotoE World Cup and its predictions for the future are particularly interesting. Founder and team manager of the French team Tech3team, but also in charge as IRTA director (the International Road-Racing Teams Association, which continuously dialogue with Dorna and constitutes the very heart of the great MotoGP circus), Poncharal has known all classes and has worked with the best riders, from Shin'ya Nakano to Norick Abe, from Carlos Checa to Marco Melandri, from Colin Edwards to Cal Crutchlow, from Andrea Dovizioso to Pol Espargaro, from Bradley Smith to Johann Zarco. If he says that the MotoE had a great debut, therefore, you have to believe it. If he makes self-criticism by saying that it is better to focus on "less experience but young" riders, you have to pay attention to him. And if he expects the electric class to increase the MotoGP business, prick up your ears.
1 - What is your opinion on this first season of the MotoE World Cup?
“I believe it was a great year one: the title was finally decided at the last race of the season, in Valencia, when the titles of the other classes had already been assigned, and this proves how the races were fought to the end. Honestly, the machines were much better than what both the paddock and the riders expected before the first winter test; as everybody can see, the bikes were fast enough to provide a good show! All in all, I think it was a great first year and that everything will be easier next year. It was a good debut for the MotoE in MotoGP: I believe there is a future for electric racing, as for electric mobility in general."
2 - What have been the positive and negative items of the first season?
“The most positive side, as I said before, is that the bikes were competitive: they looked like proper racing bikes. You know, when you watched them on television or around the track, you could see that there was nothing that was holding the riders from going fast. We had some good moments of action, which was very important: good bikes mean good shows and good fights. The main negative aspect was, and still is, the battery capacity: being able to do only six or seven laps of the race is a bit limiting. In 2020 and in the immediate future, this will not change: everyone works a lot on battery capacity, but it is not a result that you can achieve overnight. The ideal would be to do something like ten laps: yes, ten laps would be a dream, but we can't expect it for next season."
3 - And what is the judgement of the performance of the Tech3 team in particular?
“Well, 2019 was the first year: the truth is that most of the managers didn't know which was the best driver profile to select. Many of us thought experienced riders, with some heavy bike practice, would be suitable for the first year, and we all thought endurance race riders. But honestly, from day one, we saw that it was not the right way: the young riders, who came from the minor Moto3 and Moto2 championships, were always in front. In our team we had Kenny Foray, who is a great Endurance rider, but who has never managed to understand how to optimize the performance of the MotoE in such a short race; for example, he struggled a lot in the E-Pole because he wasn't used to having to be fast from the first lap. "
“On the other hand, Héctor Garzò was really fast; he was always in the top three. Without the crash in Austria, and without the technical problem (not ours, but of the organization) that in race one in Valencia did not allow us to race with the right tyre pressure, he would have had the chance to get the title. In any case, I am very happy with Hector and I am pleased that his results in the MotoE World Cup gave him the chance to have a two-year contract in a top Moto2 team for the World Championship. That tells us that young riders will have an interest in promoting and boosting their career by participating in the MotoE World Cup. Ultimately, I am quite satisfied with the performance of the Tech3 team: in 2020, we will start again with two young riders."
4 - What can you tell us about them?
“One is Tommaso Marcon, Italian, 20 years old, and Lukas Tulovic, German, 19 years old. Both are used to competing on short distances; they are real sprint riders. I really hope we can do well with them as we did with Héctor Garzò last year."
5 - Not only sport: according to your experience as a manager, has the MotoE the capability to improve the business of the MotoGP?
“Today, the future of the planet, sustainability, the reduction of CO2emissions, are finally subjects that are on top of priority: it is an item that I have very much at heart. Together with Dorna and IRTA, we are working to organize key operations such as “Kiss Mugello"," Kiss Misano"," Kiss Barcelona "(KiSS stands for "Keep it Shiny and Sustainable" and is a program of environmental and social sustainability that MotoGP has already put in place in the Grand Prix of Italy, San Marino and Catalunya, ed): We will do more and more in the future to collect plastic and aluminium cans to be recycled during race weekends. Red Bull is giving us great support. We are also working with hospitality in the paddock not to waste unused food and get it to those who need it. Clearly, the MotoE represents part of the future of mobility, so it is good for us to be part of it to develop the technology, especially the battery which is the main limit for the evolution of electric mobility (for cars and motorbikes as well). Definitely, the MotoE can increase the MotoGP business: companies that want to advertise through racing but at the same time be seen as environmentally committed, "green" companies, with the know-how for 'clean' energy, will all have, I believe and hope, interest in joining us. We can already see some of them, such as EnelX, which is the supplier of the recharging systems and energy for the batteries, produced from eco-sustainable sources. Also, some solar panel companies already joined us. If we do our job well, I believe there will be the opportunity for us to attract more and more companies who want to be associated with the world of racing but not with petrol engines."