This is the second part of the interview with Matteo Ferrari, rider of the Trentino Gresini MotoE team and winner of the first edition of the MotoE World Cup, the MotoGP electric class.
The MotoE has an unique qualifying session, the Epole, very critical especially in the double race rounds, what can you tell us?
“This year we had to decide whether to define the starting grid for Race two; we wanted to use the result of the Epole, as we did last year, or the arrival order of Race one. I would have kept the 2019 rule. It's true that in MotoE, races are short, and you can’t recover more than a certain number of positions during the race. Because of that, if you have a poor performance in the Epole, you have to start at the bottom of the grid in both races. But it's also true that the result of the Epole depends on the rider; it's him who is on track and rides the bike, for better or for worse. If I have to start in the race from the back of the grid, I prefer doing it because I did a bad Epole rather than someone hit me during the race. In my opinion, also the riders who have expressed themselves in favour of the new rule, after having seen how it went this year, have given it some thought. Anyway, we will talk about it again at the first test in 2021 at Jerez because I think it is right that the riders who fight for the championship and do a good Epole have the right not to be penalized. These are sprint races, and it was demonstrated that if you start from the back of the grid, you don't have the time to recover to the top."
Is La Epole also a useful tool for the riders to study each other?
“Yes, of course, it is an opportunity to see everyone else one at a time. It's more complicated in the other categories; you can hardly ever see a complete lap of your opponents because, on the television, you see a bit of the lap. To see a particular moment, you have to watch the whole session, which lasts forty minutes, and you don't know when the rider you want to see will be framed. The Epole is certainly fundamental to see the opponents but also to analyze your performance. The Epole also gives a lot of value to MotoE itself; during a typical qualifying session of the other classes, people can see the top riders but would not have the chance to follow all the riders. Thinking of the teams and sponsors, the Epole is an important exclusive moment for their visibility; in the other categories, some teams would pay to have an exclusive timeframe on TV. For these reasons, I think that at the moment Epole is the ideal formula for MotoE."
How do you judge the growth of this new category?
“If we consider that it is a newborn category, we are already performing very well, with results that other categories have taken years and years to achieve. There is still little media coverage of MotoE, and more could be done to give visibility to teams and sponsors. This year Dorna has made a remarkable effort to promote MotoE on its social channels, but there is still little media attention.
Honestly speaking, it's a bit hard to talk about MotoE because it's a single-brand category. Everyone has the same material; you can make a few changes, you can do a few laps; what questions do you ask? In MotoGP, every bike is a different story: there's the set-up, the choice of tyres, the electronics, but in MotoE, we're all the same."
When Gresini called you for the first time to propose you the MotoE, how did it go?
“Well, it all started very by chance because my dream was to be able to do at least a few Moto2 races and return to the World Championship. With Michele Pirro (Ducati MotoGP test rider), who has been following me and helping me over some years, we met Gresini at Imola during a CIV race (the Italian Motorbike Championship), and Pirro told him to choose me as a rider for Moto2. However, at that time, the Gresini team already had its riders in Moto2 so Fausto told us that he would have liked to have me on the team and that there was room in this new category with electric bikes. I was surprised because I didn't know that electric bikes were racing in the World Championship. In the days after, I was talking about it with Pirro, and he suggested me to accept, saying that MotoE would soon become a very interesting category. He was very convinced that it would be the right choice for me. The idea of starting to cooperate with a top-class team that was already present in the other classes of the World Championship attracted me, so in the end, I said to myself, 'Why not? Let's do it.' and I accepted."
“Then, the first time I saw the bike, it was the street version, I was dumb by the weight and size. But then, people told me that the racing version of the bike was lighter and had a different fairing, and when I saw it, I was much more relaxed. Beyond this initial surprise, when I decided to race in the MotoE class, I was convinced that this would be my next category and that I had to do my best there. Also, every time I started a new category, I was doing very well in the first year, so this was also a point that gave me a boost. I liked the idea that all bikes were the same, and I thought that if I could adapt, I could prove my worth without ifs and buts. In the end, it turned out that I could do a championship within the World Championship, with a top-class team and with bikes that were the same for everyone; why not do it?"
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