La MotoE World Cup is preparing to face its second pre-season test session on the Jerez de la Frontera track. To understand how the bike chosen by Dorna for the MotoGP electric class, we asked our questions directly to the source, interviewing Giampiero Testoni, Technical Director of Energica Motor Company, the Modena company that for three years will be the sole supplier of the FEL ENEL motorcycles MotoE World Cup.
The Ego Corsa was born as an evolution from the road version, the Ego; How was development set up from one to the other?
We worked mainly on the track set-up: turning a road bike into a racing bike seems easy but it isn't. The main areas of work were: the battery pack, the electronics (mapping management, engine brake, additional engine brake), the whole part concerning the chassis (suspension, brakes) and all the transponder and message integration race on the dashboard (via the Dorna tender system).
What were the developments that gave better results than expected and those that gave less?
In general we achieved results that exceeded our forecasts: we were able to add more kWh than expected, we achieved a lower weight than initially estimated and we are very satisfied with the performance (here the technical sheet of the Ego Corsa). Our team worked hard in 2018: a few weeks after choosing Dorna we were already on track for the first tests. We had a very tight schedule but, despite the prohibitive timing, we completed the project and we are extremely happy with the results achieved. Our development work will obviously continue in the coming months for some refinements.
So is the pre-season test bike in Jerez the definitive one or will the development continue even in these months?
The bike is the definitive one. Obviously there will be some refinements that will be made, but the means is that. We are working to implement Dell'Orto telemetry and some electronic settings to perfection (here the complete description of the data acquisition system). 99% of this is the bike, at least for the first year. Developments during the championship are not expected. Unless improvements that can be inserted without distortion (see the rear brake control on the handlebar - ed), the development work we will do in 2019 will be in 2020. The trend is to have this bike "frozen" and not make any developments more for the season.
What will be your support during tests and competitions, there will always be a team of Energica here I'm?
Yes there will be a team Energica at every test and every race. The team will be formed by six people who will follow the management of the pilots with the help of Alessandro Brannetti (the historic tester of Energica - link). We will have a mechanic to support the teams in case of falls, damage to the bike or anyway ready to give help or any advice on repair and set-up of the bike. We will have a telemetry player, an electronic and our press officer, media manager and on-site guests. I as technical director will take care of the general management.
In November a first test session was already held, how did the pilots find themselves driving an electric racing bike for the first time?
It was the first contact made by the pilots and teams with the Ego Corsa and the weather was not on our side. Unfortunately we didn't have many dry sessions to test how much we wanted. Despite these negative factors, the drivers gave very positive feedback on the bike. Obviously there are those who have adapted more and less, but this could only be seen based on the lap times. I think someone dared more than others, so the times are not totally indicative of a rider's feeling, especially for the teams that had to handle a bike and two drivers.
(At this link you can see how the tests of the MotoE in Jerez last November - link)
How did the drivers find themselves with the proposed maps for the engine brake?
Some drivers had a great time with engine brake mappings, while others had much more engine brake requirements, so they used very high settings for both engine brake and additional engine brake (which is activated with a button on the left handlebar as described at this link). Riders normally prefer aggressive driving and cornering, a way of driving that according to our experience makes it less, the Ego Corsa prefers a clean style.
During the first tests we saw many teams use fans to cool the batteries. Nicolas Goubert, the championship director, said they were used because the teams recharged the battery as soon as the bike returned to the pits.
The fans were used during the tests only for timing issues: we had 3 sessions a day with little time available for each. In these stop periods the motorcycles also had to be recharged with fast recharging and therefore in this case it was important to have a little help in terms of cooling (the battery of an electric motorcycle produces heat both during use and during recharging. Ed. ). During the races this solution will be totally useless because the bike was designed for use in the championship. Having two sessions spaced out on Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the race on Sunday, there will be no need for it and there will be no heating problems.