A couple of months ago (in October 2021), Dorna announced that Ducati would be the sole supplier of motorcycles to the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup; the electric class of the MotoGP World Championship; starting from 2023. And in preparation, Michele Pirro’s been spinning some laps at Misano, putting the Ducati MotoE prototype through its paces.
I won’t wax lyrical about my thoughts regarding the news that we have a one-make series at GP level. I’ve already done that here. Spoiler alert though, I think it’s a load of poppycock.
I will say this though, that’s the best looking electric motorcycle I think I’ve ever seen. If they want us to buy electric bikes, they should definitely make them look like that.
This one is just an early prototype, it has to be said. It’s over a year until Ducati take over as sole-supplier to the championship, so we’re told the prototype, codenamed V21L, is a work in progress.
The goal, say Ducati, is to create bikes with “high performance, characterised by their lightness. ” We all know though that building decent electric bikes, that don’t weigh a ton, isn’t easy. But that’s what they’re trying to do, so good luck to them.
And whilst this prototype is not available for the general public to buy, nor do Ducati currently have a production electric motorcycle, the whole project is really one big R&D exercise. With the goal being ‘to study how to produce, as soon as the technology allows, a Ducati electric vehicle that is sporty, light, thrilling and able to satisfy all enthusiasts’.
So soon, there might be an electric bike parked next to the Panigales, Monsters and Multistradas in your local Ducati dealership. Although I doubt it will be for a good few years.
Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director, had this to say after the V21L’s first track test
We are experiencing a truly extraordinary moment. I find it hard to believe it is reality and still not a dream! The first electric Ducati on the track is exceptional not only for its uniqueness but also for the type of undertaking; challenging both for its performance objectives and for its extremely short timescales. Precisely for this reason, the work of the whole team dedicated to the project has been incredible and today’s result repays us for the efforts made in recent months. We are certainly not finished yet; indeed, we know that the road ahead is still very long, but in the meantime, we have laid a first important ‘brick’.
And Michele Pirro, official Ducati test rider, after riding the Ducati MotoE prototype, said this
Testing the MotoE prototype on the circuit was a great thrill. It marks the beginning of an important chapter in Ducati history. The bike is light and already has a good balance. Furthermore, the throttle connection in the first opening phase and the ergonomics are very similar to a MotoGP bike. If it weren’t for the silence and for the fact that in this test, we decided to limit the power output to just 70% of performance, I could easily have imagined that I was riding my bike.
We still don’t have any technical details about the bike, like how fast it is, what it weighs etc. And we don’t know how fast it went round Misano; although judging by the wet tyres in the pictures, conditions might not have been conducive to quick laps.
But I bet it will be a bit of a weapon. Don’t forget Ducati have got the might of the Volkswagen Audi group behind them. I can’t see there being a shortage of knowledge/technology/budget within ‘The Group’, can you?