We had seen the images of the electric Panigale rocking around the roads of Bologna, with the rider with a blurred face (he gets everywhere), but at the time what we didn’t know how serious Ducati were. We just thought the R&D teams were thinking 15 years into the future for when the ban on ICE bikes comes in. How wrong we were! I case you missed the announcement, Ducati have claimed sole supplier status to the MotoGP MotoE series, the electric top flight races series which follows Moto GP. Current MotoE bikes are supplied by Energica motorcycles.
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Today (20th December 2021) saw the new Electric Moto E Ducati take to the Misano track for the first time, under the experienced hands of Michele Pirro, Ducati’s test rider extrodinere. Taking to the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, the same place where the agreement between Ducati and Dorna Sports was announced back in October.
Ducati president Claudio Domenicali had long hinted about Ducati’s electric future, but the new project codenamed “V21L” gives a great testbed at the highest level of racing allowing Ducati to perfect technology, with the aim to bring it to every day motorcycles. This project is a collaboration between Ducati R&D engineers and the Ducati Corse teams, led by Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director.
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 ‘brickRoberto Canè – Ducati eMobility Director
Ducati factory test rider Michele Pirro has been with the Bologna firm since 2013, and has tested pretty much every Ducati since, from the MotoGP bikes, to the V4R and S roadbikes and now Ducati’s first Electric motorcycle.
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Testing the MotoE prototype on the circuit was a great thrill, because 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 those of 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.Michele Pirro – Ducati test rider
As it stands, electric motorcycles are heavier than the ICE counterparts, with the MotoGP series having to employ special measures for the MotoE class. The biggest issues lie in the size, weight and range of machines, which Ducati aim to increase considerably making the bikes perform better. One key area of focus seems to be liquid cooling of the powertrain to ensure consistent power delivery throughout the race.
The styling of the bike looks typical panigale styling, stunning to look at from all directions. Arguably even better looking that the MotoGP bike, as it is wingless, and for once the lack of an exhaust pipe makes the whole design sleek. It is worth noting the prototype bike is chain driven, directly without a gearbox, with Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes. Carbon paneling, rear subframe and guards keep the weight down. We have no specification on what size motor or battery is in use for the project, however this will more than likely change during testing and prototype revisions.
Of course this project paves the perfect path for the technology to trickle down to road bikes. Ducati want to make an electric road bike, but Ducati don’t do half measures, or boring bikes, I for one am eagerly anticipating what gets released over the next few years!
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