Electric motorcycles are a new world for everyone. Well, almost everyone. In the circus of the MotoEin fact, there are two people who can make the difference in their experience, curriculum and vast range of skills. A clue? Both surnames are Betti.
If in a box there are a father and a son, two technical experts, the winners of nine world championships and two firefighters, how many people are there? A crowd, or Luciano and Thomas Betti: father and son, class 1954 and 1981, originating from Novafeltria in the province of Rimini ("in full Motor Valley") are among the technical reference points of LCR E-Team. They are also winners of four and five world championships respectively on electric motorcycles (when the FIA organized them), as well as long-time firefighters. If there is someone for whom the unprecedented challenge of the MotoE in short, it has less unknown than for others, those are Luciano and Thomas Betti. Collectors of vintage motorcycles, all-round two-wheel enthusiasts, were intrigued by the novelty of the electric in pioneer times. They built their first electric motorcycle in the 1998, to participate in the nascent FIA-organized championship.
In the saddle mounted the father (also because Thomas was not old) and won immediately. In all, between the 1999 and the 2006, he would then win four world titles. Subsequently, with Thomas at the helm, the Betti Moto Racing team won four more times. And in the 2010, when for the first time the international motorcycle federation organized the first international E-Power championship (which included side races at Laguna Seca for MotoGP, at Imola for Superbike, at Albacete, Magnycour and Le Mans for the world championship) Endurance) the Betti-tandem participated again, always with Thomas in the saddle, and again he graduated world champion according to the new rules. If this were not enough, the Bettis have to put at the disposal of the team also competences in terms of safety, a subject that has become overwhelmingly topical after the burning of Jerez: both, in fact, are Firefighters, so much so that they competed with the 115 number. It is not surprising, therefore, that both the team manager Lucio Cecchinello and the riders, Randy De Puniet and Nicolò Canepa, have repeatedly indicated them as one of the strengths of the team. (Here interviews a Lucio Cecchinello e Niccolò Canepa)
Thomas, the MotoE Is it a natural evolution of the races in which you have won so much or is it a completely different experience?
I would say that it is a natural evolution. We were pioneers in a phase in which there was more freedom to experiment, it is true, but we believe that Dorna did very well doing a single-brand championship. Something is being renounced in terms of evolution, but in exchange the costs remain under control, access to the best available technology is obtained anyway and the most suitable compromise to create interest is obtained. It seems like the right way to start showing the general public what an electric motorcycle is.
Canepa said that "a team with Betti is a team made to win". What secrets do you carry in the LCR box?
Well, when you run, you always run to win, don't you? We will try to bring all our experience and all those little precautions not so obvious to those who approach this world for the first time. And then we are not alone: the technical leader Paolo Cordioli, already collaborator of great pilots, is not fast on electric motorcycles. At the time of the FIA championships we were opponents, now we find ourselves together in this beautiful adventure: it seems to me that Lucio (Cecchinello) is doing everything to give the drivers the best he can.
Do you need specific technical skills to handle this type of motorcycle in the pits?
More specific skills would have been needed if this were an open league. However, since the modifications are limited - unfortunately, because it would be great fun to get our hands on it ... - the skills required are the same as for a traditional motorcycle. But I foresee that, over the years, there will be more and more possibilities to intervene and make the bikes perform better and better suited to the riders.
Based on your experience of racing with electric bikes, in the event of a fall, is an electric motorcycle inherently more delicate?
The handicap of the electric bike is the weight, even in the event of a fall. The weight is there and also the speed: therefore, in case of fall, the risk is there. One of the aspects on which the organization has strongly insisted, doing very well, is security. On motorcycles, for example, an integrated system has been installed that lets you know at a glance if a crashed motorcycle can be touched without risk: we must remember that we are talking about very high voltages, around 400 volts. For this purpose, two LED indicator lights, installed on the right and on the left, clarify if the bike can be touched, moved and worked without danger or if there is a risk that the electrical components are short-circuited. In the event of a fall, however, we will also have technicians Energica that will give us a hand to manage the power trade (the motor, battery and control system). So: the electric bike has its peculiarities, but it did a good job to deal with them.
How is the dynamics of an electric motorcycle compared to a traditional one?
If one could compare an electric motorbike and a petrol motorbike, with the same weight and the same power, I am XNUMX% sure that the electric one would be clearly - but definitely superior. Among the main differences is the fact that electric motorcycles do not have very large rotating masses, so the gyroscopic effect is less, to the benefit of handling. And despite that set up by Energica be it a nice heavy bike, the riders don't feel this weight so much, finding it agile and fun. Another aspect not to be underestimated, in comparison, is that practically, in electric motorcycles, it is possible to shift the weight by moving the batteries.
Is there a driving style more suitable for an electric motorcycle?
Yes, and I think both Nicolò and Randy have it.
Cecchinello promised to take a few laps with the track MotoE?
It was not a real promise, also because it does not depend only on Lucio ... but yes, it would be nice to do some laps at the end of the year! And I think he, too, is quite curious!