Home Riders Matteo Ferrari talks about his start of the 2021 season in MotoE

Matteo Ferrari talks about his start of the 2021 season in MotoE

Matteo Ferrari in his third season in MotoE

At the age of twenty-two, Matteo Ferrari became the first historic winner of the MotoE World Cup, the electric class of MotoGP. Ferrari won the two races in Italy in his debut year at Misano, completing all the races on the calendar without ever making mistakes. In the second edition of the MotoE, the rider from Rimini won twice more in the home Grand Prix but finished the championship in second place, behind the Spaniard Jordi Torres.
After the first two races of the MotoE 2021, we asked him to tell us what his start to the season was like.

Matteo Ferrari on the MotoE of the Indonesian E-Racing Gresini team

“The season started more or less like the previous two; the points I have collected are more or less the same. In the first race, in Jerez, I made the best possible result because I started from the last position on the grid. I am very happy to have finished sixth; indeed, I had recovered up to fifth place, but I had pushed a lot, and in the last lap, the battery power had dropped, so I lost a position.
At Le Mans, I was fast and confirmed the performance step I had made in the Jerez race. Over the weekend in France, we went back to a bike version similar to 2020 one. In the Jerez tests and then in the race in Spain, we had chosen to move towards a new set-up, following what the other riders were doing, but it was not the right solution for us."
So we decided in France to go back to last year's configuration, also because I went fast with it last year at Le Mans. The start was uphill: on Friday, I had problems with both the main battery, the one I had used in Jerez, and the spare one. It is an extremely rare event; in three years, it had happened only once, and this time it occurred to me. Basically, it was a day almost completely lost."

Matteo Ferrari on track at Jerez

“On Saturday morning, however, we did a good job, the lap-times came, and the feeling was good. The Epole was… .as it was. Wet track, yellow flags, laps cancelled. I tried as much as possible to ride alone, and maybe that was the right choice because I started from the front row.
The race was beautiful, spectacular, Moto3 style. But as a rider, I wouldn't say I liked it that much; the race pace was really slow. If we compare this year's race pace with last year's, this year we were at least one second per lap slower, even more in the first laps. There was grip; the track conditions were more or less the same. Being all in a group, everyone braked late to overtake the rider in front of him, but in this way, you lose corner speed which is the key element to be fast in MotoE.
I had a good start, and I was in the right position to get a good result; on the second lap, I was fourth, but two riders crashed in front of me, and I almost stopped to avoid hitting them. I'm happy I didn't crash and still brought home important points for the championship, but I lost many positions and found myself at the bottom of the leading group and recovering was hard. On the last lap with a free track in front, I did the fastest lap of the race, but it was too late; I was three seconds behind the leaders."

MotoE World Cup 2021
The overall standings

“On the one hand, I am happy with the speed I found and that I was more competitive than at Jerez. On the other, I am not satisfied with the final eighth position. But these are the races; we must always look forward. Compared to the standings, the situation is more or less the same as last year, I have two points less, but we are all still there."

You talked about a change of set-up of the bike between Jerez and Le Mans; what did you work on to get back to the 2020 set-up?
“This year, we have new tires and new forks; from the first test, everyone moved in a certain direction to set the bike. But already during the tests, I wasn't really convinced. It was a very specific situation with temperatures that guaranteed optimal grip, and it was possible to set up the bike very hard, but we doubted that it would only work in those conditions. In fact, just two weeks later, on the first race, the conditions were different, and the lap-times were higher. The race pace in the Spanish GP was about 1: 48.2 while in the tests, the pace was a second faster. Therefore, it was enough to find a bit higher temperatures and the set-up done in the tests no longer worked well."

"With the new tires and the new fork, in the conditions of the tests, it seemed that we could brake harder, sharpening the corners, an unnatural style for the MotoE, which in the past had always required a smoother ride and with a lot of corner speed.
So I decided to change my setup at Le Mans, also because the forecasts gave conditions similar to those of last year, with which we had been fast.
The confirmation came on the track when we saw that the other riders had not been faster than last year with the same conditions.
My choice was for a bike similar to last year's, a very balanced bike that works on all tracks. It may not make a difference on a particular track, but it works well everywhere. This is important in MotoE because on race weekends; you don't ride much, we don't have 40-minute sessions like other classes, so you don't have time to change springs, heights and balance every time. Having a bike that is good on all tracks allows you to be ok from the first session."

Matteo Ferrari on track at Le Mans

When you talk about being back to last year's setup, do you mean it as adjustments or even material?
"No, the material we use is 2021, I am referring above all to the weight balance between front and rear and the combined selection of fork springs and mono-shock absorber."

This winter, Michelin worked to bring a tyre with a better warm-up capacity to reach the right temperature already in the first corners. What is your opinion after two races?
“In my opinion, a step forward has been made. Last year we were all very cautious in acceleration in the first corners, while this year, we all twisted the throttle faster. Maybe someone had a minor movement of the rear, but no one had any major problems, so yes, I would say that the tyre has improved.
To improve further, we would need the warm-up lap because that really makes the difference to bring the tyre up to temperature, but we don't do it for battery consumption."

The start of the 2021 race in Le Mans

What do you think of the rookies?
“No one has impressed me at the moment. Some riders did well in the tests, like Aldeguer and Pons, but then they didn't have important results in the races. Aldeguer crashed twice; others had a high pace, and so on. Everyone is doing quite well, but these two races have been quite slow; we'll see what they will do in the next races when I hope the race pace will be faster, like last year."

The next two races are in Barcelona and Assen, two new tracks for MotoE.
“Yes, I know them both from racing them when I was in Moto3 and in addition, a few days ago, I went to Barcelona to test the track because they changed turn ten. The newest will be Assen between the two circuits because anyone of us rode in Barcelona, maybe in the CEV, or Supersport, or other championships."

Many will be curious to see the performance of the MotoE on the Barcelona straight and the braking of the first corner.
“Eh, I am also very curious because that straight there is very long, and it will be interesting to see how it will affect the electric consumption but above all how much the battery will heat up going so long at full power. Anyway, I am optimistic for the next races because I had good confirmations at Le Mans, I was fast, and I think the road we have taken is good. I miss the podium and would like to return soon on it."

Next round on June 6th in Barcelona.

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