The word to the technicians: parallel interviews on MotoE

The word to the technicians: parallel interviews on MotoE

Different teams, different experiences, different dimensions: but all united by the absolute novelty of the debut in MotoE. For this, Gino Borsoi (technical director Ángel Nieto Team), Giuseppe De Gruttola (team leader Trentino Gresini MotoE) is Marco Grana (Sic58 technical coordinator Squarda Corse) have agreed to play with us in this "triple interview". Here, in alphabetical order, their answers.

1 - The Jerez tests were conditioned by the rain: what kind of work did you manage to do? How were wet sessions also used?

Borsoi: The entrance tests were very very interesting! It is true that most of the laps were done in the rain - and, in our case, also alternating two riders on one bike, so with fewer laps each - but the impression of both riders was positive.
De Gruttola: We also had two pilots and only one bike available: three days of testing, with three rounds of thirty minutes each, are not many. We tried to understand immediately how to manage the battery, both the duration and the charging time. Wet sessions (even if the track was never completely wet) went better than we thought: with just a few modifications to the setting, the bike performed very well.
Grit: The Jerez test was definitely characterized by rain, but we managed to do at least a couple of dry track turns, which helped us understand the basics of work for the season. Our driver, Mattia Casadei, came from a very demanding hip operation, so we preferred to concentrate more on the dry track turns, just to avoid useless risks. We started to adapt the bike to the needs of the driver, especially during braking, where we could get the greatest advantages on lap time. We did comparative tests on the various spring loads, both front and rear, and we tried to take advantage of the excellent acceleration that this has MotoE can give us. We think we have clearer ideas and we have removed some doubts we had about power management and battery usage.

Giuseppe De Gruttola (second from right) in the presentation picture of Team Gresini

2 - The team technicians had already done a dedicated course at Energica, what was it like working on the bike from life? Is it more complex or less than a traditional motorcycle?

Borsoi: The mechanics had already completed a course, yes, and I must say that the work on the bike was not so difficult: some adjustments on the chassis, changed the set-up a little, a little work on the springs and a little bit on the electronics, but we found the bike quite accessible. There was only a small problem in the engine brake, almost physiological when everything is so new, and it was quickly fixed by Energica: so very positive impressions. As for the comparison with a traditional bike ... well, at the cycling level it is a normal racing bike, so the work is similar. The electrical part, on the other hand, obliges mechanics to follow rules, carry out checks and carry out maintenance procedures never seen before, so ... you have to get used to them.
De Gruttola: The first thing that strikes you is the weight! But, like everything, once you get used to it you don't notice it anymore. Aside from that, the bike is quite simple. In addition to the routine maintenance that is done on a racing bike, there was no need to do anything else, so at a first impression I would say that it is no more and no less complex than another motorcycle with an internal combustion engine.
Grit: The course was very interesting, the staff Energica he was very helpful and very clear in explaining carefully what we should have done once on the track. So my mechanics had very clear ideas during the test and found no great difficulties. The work is not complex, but obviously you have to change the way you think: the lack of noise and the recharging of the battery at the beginning make everything very strange. But we are becoming part of a new world of racing, with different technologies that, in some ways, make everything very fascinating. As a first test, I can say that we really enjoyed ourselves. With these bikes you hear sounds never heard before ... like the rubber spin and the rubbing of soap on the asphalt!

Marco Grana (in the foreground with a dark sweatshirt) during the Jerez test

3- The set-up variables are not many. What are the parameters that will make the difference?

Borsoi: Yes, actually there aren't many setups. It will be possible to work a little on the chassis, therefore springs and geometries: not much, but they can help anyway. Especially the springs are important, as we have seen. Certainly the parameters we are used to working with change a lot: now most of the weight is in front, so we will have to recalibrate everything we were using in traditional bikes. As for the electronics, however, something can be done: we will be able to help the riders on the traction controls and on the engine brake, but I guess there won't be huge differences between the various teams.
De Gruttola: In fact the setups don't give much margin of movement, so ... in my opinion the most important parameter will be the pilot's ability to understand and interpret the bike.
Grit: As in all single-brand categories, the details make the difference. Nothing can be overlooked: ergonomics is certainly a very important point to work on, to try to make up for the lack of technical changes.

4 - What was an element that positively surprised you during the tests and what is the area where you think there is more room for development?

Borsoi: The aspect that surprised us is the ease of riding found by the riders: they felt in their hands a very very stable bike, which worked almost perfectly. The area of ​​greatest improvement is certainly the chassis, on which to work based on the use that each rider will refine in the next tests. For now we have started with a basic set-up, but just think that within the team we have two riders with two weights and with two completely different styles, so surely something about the geometry will have to be changed and customized with experience.
De Gruttola: The positive surprise, for an absolute debut, is that on twelve bikes there were only a couple of technical problems: this is very important, both for the safety of pilots and mechanics and for the competition. To understand what to improve, for us the next test will be very important: finally we will have two bikes available and we will have a more precise idea of ​​the working method.
Grit: Surely I'm surprised how a motorcycle that is certainly not light can be so manageable. I thought it was much more complex to reach certain lean angles and I was also very surprised by the delivery that this engine manages to develop in low speed corners.

Giuseppe De Gruttola checking the Michelin tires

5- What were the pilots' judgments on Michelin tires?

Borsoi: They were pleasantly surprised especially in the wet: they say it was almost as possible to ride as in the dry. So the bike has a really nice grip, Michelin did a great job on the rain. As for the slicks, having only lapped a little, it is honestly difficult to make an informed judgment, but even in the dry both riders were happy.
De Gruttola: Having only one bike, both Ferrari and Savadori remained quite "buttoned", they didn't push that much: but the comments were positive. The tires are already at an excellent level, with only one compound the riders will have to adapt to the various conditions of the tracks they will find. The rains are the same used by the MotoGP and, as you could guess watching them turn, they have satisfied the pilots.
Grit: The comment was very clear: "These tires are fantastic!" My driver is a very young guy, this year he competed with bikes derived from the series and when he was able to try the Michelin he was very very surprised. The grip on the rear, despite being the first test, is very positive even in the maximum bend, so as to allow the gas to be thrown open very soon and to rub the elbow on the ground without problems. Another positive note is the feeling achieved in wet conditions with rain tires, excellent grip even in full wet. Michelin has assured us that he will continue to develop these tires, for the first race we would have a special compound for the MotoE and I'm sure it will surprise us.

Mattia Casadei (Sic58 team driver) in action at Jerez

6 - A unique paddock without walls, with the various teams working close to each other: what was it like?

Borsoi: It's nice to have a communication channel with all the teams inside, but basically I don't see a big difference compared to a normal Paddock like that of MotoGP.
De Gruttola: I found it a bit strange, but I liked it. Normally it is closed in its box with the shutters lowered, to try to keep those little technical secrets that every team thinks they have, instead there in Jerez everyone could see everything. Even if the truth is that, when you're focused on working, you don't pay much attention to those around you.
Grit: I seemed to have returned to the origins of a few years ago, in the minor leagues! Personally, I really enjoyed being able to exchange a few words with the different technicians of the various teams. At the World Championship we are always closed between four walls and we hardly communicate with each other, this time it was different.

To read how the first tests of the went MotoE on the Jerez track, go to the dedicated area (link)