This is the second part of the interview with Nicolas Gourbert, the Executive Director of the MotoE World Cup.
What is the plan for the 2021 season?
"A few days ago, we issued the provisional 2021 calendar: it has six rounds and seven races, and for the first time, the MotoE will be at Assen and Barcelona. Of course, it is preliminary, but next year, we will be in a better position than 2020. This year, we proved to all the authorities that we can organize events without putting any of the local people at risk." (Here the 2021 calendar of the MotoE World Cup)
“We will try to do two 3-day tests. We need to give new riders enough time to familiarize with the bike, but we also have to test the new chargers with the teams. We need to have two sessions because whatever we test in the first that needs to be changed, we must have the chance to test it before the first race. With only one test, if any component needs to be modified, it will be used on a race weekend without any previous validation."
“Also, and I’m saying that as a former tyre-guy, you need to go twice on the same track to test the tyres. The tyres' performance is strictly related to the track and the tarmac, and if you do not test new tyres in the same conditions, you have inconsistent data, and it is difficult to get valuable results. If we test first in Jerez and then in Le Mans, it is almost impossible to compare the data.
Doing tests is difficult with traditional bikes, but it is more difficult with electric bikes because of the limited time on track. To avoid confusion, during testing, you have to change one parameter at a time; otherwise, you do not know what is causing what. With the MotoE, the number of laps per session is very limited, and sometimes the riders decide to change several things simultaneously, but this is not a convenient methodology."
Is the category attractive for new sponsors, and what do you think about the media coverage?
“This year the Dorna’s social media efforts have been much more than last year to promote the MotoE category, and we have been very happy to see the great improvement in interest on social media.
Regarding the TV, the very positive point was that all of the main channels that broadcast the MotoGP also broadcasted MotoE races, which is an excellent starting point. Okay, there are no commentary sessions about MotoE on those channels; nevertheless, our visibility is very good because we are part of the MotoGP frame. I think the interest and the review sessions on tv will increase gradually; if we compare this year with the first, we have already seen some changes: we have seen tv journalist on the grid before the race’s start, in Le Mans I have been invited by Canal + and also Mike Di Meglio had an interview with them. These are small things, but they are a starting point."
“Regarding the press and the web-based media, the situation for me is a little disappointing because there are no many articles. Well, the motorbike journalists are, I would say, petrol bikes enthusiasts, and they have been in this world for 20 or 30 years or even more. They do not see electric racing favourably, so I do not expect these people to push MotoE forward. If you look at FormulaE, they have good coverage on the general press, more than any other motorsport. This is because it is something different, and it is likely to interest all people and not only a fan of motorsport. Also FormulaE does not have good coverage on the specialized motorsport press. For MotoE is the same and will be the same for a little while longer.
However, we did a survey asking people their opinion on MotoE, and they gave very positive feedback about the races, and they are very happy with the show."
And what about the sponsors?
“Regarding the sponsors, we, as Dorna, are already very happy because we have an important title sponsor, which is EnelX, and teams have some sponsors that would never have been attracted by a petrol bike series, for example, Trentino of the Gresini Team.
Now, because of the Covid issue, sponsorship is a problem for all the sports, but I’m sure that in the future, it will be much easier to find sponsors for an electric race series than for any competition based on combustion engines."
“I do not know what will happen in 2021, if we will be in a better position with the Covid or not, but for sure, there will be the MotoGP championship with all the classes. This is because we proved to all the autorities that we can manage to organize races without putting any of the local people at risk. This means that all the sponsors that look for visibility on the media will be attracted for sure by MotoE.
Petrol engine motorsport will clearly keep their core sponsors for years and years, but electric racing will attract different kinds; I’m are convinced about that. One weak point we have at present is the limited number of events, but it is because we are at the start; when the Covid will be behind us, and there will be more rounds and more races, it will be much easier for the teams to attract the sponsors."
To be updated on MotoE World Cup, subscribe to Epaddock's Whatsapp broadcast and receive all our news on your mobile phone in real time: find out how here.