The bombshell racing news for 2023 has to be the fact that Ducati is taking over as the sole-manufacturer of the FIM MotoE World Cup, which runs at select MotoGP race rounds.
Before this news, Ducati was perhaps the last brand you would expect to embrace an electric powertrain, and since their MotoE announcement, the folks in Borgo Panigale have been working publicly on that goal with gusto.
Now today, we get our first proper glimpse at the Ducati “V21L” MotoE project, but also some of the performance specs we can expect in the MotoE series.
First off, the numbers you are dying to hear: 495 lbs (225 kg) ready-to-race, 150hp (110 kW) of peak power, 103 lbs•ft of torque (140 Nm), a 18 kWh battery pack (running at 800 volts) that can be charged to 80% in 45 minutes with the onboard 20 kW charger, and a top speed of over 170 mph (275 km/h) at the Mugello track.
Not to over-use an Italian cliché, but that’s a spicy meatball, and close to what Ducati achieves with its Panigale V4 superbike.
Of course, a spec sheet isn’t the full story when it comes to Ducati’s MotoE project – as the Italian firm has bled its DNA into their first electric race bike.
For starters, the chassis design should look familiar to any Ducatisti, with Ducati reusing its forward frame chassis technology with an aluminum spar connecting the front-end to the carbon fiber battery pack, which doubles as a stressed member of the chassis.
The V21L also uses a full electronics suite from Ducati, which includes IMU-assisted traction control, wheelie control, and slide control. There are different throttle maps and engine braking maps (regenerative braking) as well, allowing the bike to be tailored to individual rider preferences.
In terms of hard parts, the usual brands can be seen. The braking package has been developed closely with Brembo, and sees 338.5mm dual discs made out of steel at the front, with extra cooling fins on the carrier assembly. Ducati is testing discs that are 6.8mm to 7.4mm, which is a sizable bump from the 4mm you would see on a modern production bike.
These discs are mated to two Brembo GP4RR M4 calipers with 32mm and 36mm pistons, again a sizable upgrade from the typical 30mm pistons you would see on a Panigale V4 superbike. These are connected to a Brembo PR 18×19 radial master cylinder, for sizable bite and modularity.
As you would also suspect, the suspension comes from Öhlins, and here Ducati has copied its design from the Superleggera V4 project, with Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurized forks and a Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber. An Öhlins steering damper completes the suspension package.
A quick look at this MotoE racer and you cannot miss the dual radiator setup. The top radiator cools the 800-volt battery pack, which tips the scales at 243 lbs with its 1,152 clyindrical 21700 cells. Meanwhile, the bottom radiator cools the electric motor that was developed in-house, and weighs a mere 46 lbs and spins up to 18,000 rpm.
Ducati boasts that its dual-radiator setup allows the V21L to be charged immediately after use, with no cooling required, and the high-voltage system means that charging the Ducati takes a minimal amount of time (45 minutes to 80% capacity).
This should translate into more track time for MotoE teams, as they will have less down time in the pits, and thus can ride more sessions in a single day.
The whole package has been tuned with the help from Ducati test riders Michele Pirro, Alex de Angelis, and Chaz Davies, with Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali recently getting a chance to ride the bike, and give the project his seal of approval.
“A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary opportunity to ride the Ducati MotoE on the track and I immediately realized that I was living in a historic moment,” said Domenicali.
“The world is going through a complex period and environmental sustainability is an element that all individuals and all companies must consider a priority if we want to preserve the delicate balance of the planet.”
“As Ducati, we have grasped this need and we went in search of a challenge that would allow us to contribute to the common goal of reducing CO2 emissions and at the same time to keep faith with our DNA linked to racing.”
“We agreed with determination to develop the most performing electric racing bike that current technology makes possible and to use this project as a laboratory in which to build our future. The result we have achieved is surprising.”
“As soon as I sat on the bike I realized the quality of the work done by the team and when I returned to the garage I felt a deep sense of pride for what we were once again able to achieve”.
We left the photos in the gallery below at the their maximum resolution, so you can dive into the details on the first electric Ducati race bike. Enjoy!
Photos of the Ducati “V21L” MotoE Race Bike: