Fresh off its news that it will continue as the MotoE bike supplier through 2022, Energica announces today that it has taken some of that knowledge from racing, and brought it to its electric motorcycle lineup.
Giving its models all an “RS” designation (standing for “Reparto Sportivo”), the Energica EGO+RS, Energica EVA EsseEsse9+ RS, and Energica EVA Ribelle RS feature new VMU software protocols that increase performance.
The COVID-19 pandemic has once again reshaped the 2020 MotoGP calendar, though this change had long been expected.
Today, Dorna and the FIM announced that the three races outside Europe still on the calendar – in Argentina, Malaysia, and Thailand – have all been canceled. Taking their place at the end of the season is one extra race, officially unspecified as yet.
It is hard to believe, but it is here at last. After a layoff of over four months due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Grand Prix racing motorcycles will be back on track in just a few hours time.
At first it seemed like there would be no racing at all in MotoGP, as race after race was canceled, but as the pandemic started to burn itself out in Spain and Italy, Dorna and the FIM started searching for a way ahead.
As the weeks passed, the cancellations ceased, and plans were laid for a new season. Hugely curtailed, and limited to just a handful of tracks, and with the way the series would be run radically reconfigured to make it as safe as possible.
13 races to be held over 18 weekends, teams limited to a much smaller presence, a limited number of TV crews, and journalists excluded entirely. Everything to avoid MotoGP becoming a catalyst for the further spread of the disease, and races having to be canceled once again.
So on Wednesday, bikes take the track again for a day of testing for all four classes – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, and MotoE – before the season kicks off in earnest again on Friday. On Sunday, we should be racing again, at last.
There is a plan for the 2020 MotoGP season. With the COVID-19 outbreak receding all across Europe, Dorna has been given a second chance at setting a calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season.
The newly published calendar will see 13 races held at circuits in Europe in the first instance, with the possibility of four overseas races being tacked on at the end of the year, if conditions permit.
The calendar is explictly still provisional, subject to local rules and regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
If there is one thing that we learned from the Sepang test, it is that the field is even closer this year. In Malaysia, 18 riders finished within a second of one another. That pattern has continued at Qatar, Pol Espargaro in fourteenth just 0.987 second behind the fastest man, Alex Rins.
As comparison, the KTM rider was the last rider within a second of the fastest man after the first day of this test in 2019, but then, there were just eight riders ahead of him, rather than thirteen. And there was a gap of nearly four tenths of a second between the riders in second and third last year. Not so in 2020.
But if the single lap times were close, the race pace was a lot less so. Maverick Viñales towered over the rest in terms of consistent pace, with only the Suzukis of Alex Rins and Joan Mir getting anywhere near the pace of the Monster Energy Yamaha rider.
Viñales laid down a real benchmark, with ten of his 47 laps in the 1’54s, which is under the race lap record. That included a run of ten laps, seven of which were 1’54s, five of which were consecutive. That is a rather terrifying race pace for the Spaniard to lay down, just two weeks ahead of the first race.
Viñales has a reputation for being the winter testing champion, frequently topping the timesheets, yet never quite able to convert that into a consistent championship challenge once the season gets underway.
But there is reason to think things are a little different this time: not only is the Yamaha M1 a good bit faster than it was last year, but Viñales himself has a different attitude.
2020 sees the start of a new decade (convention has it that decades are zero-based, going from 0-9, so please, numerical pedants, just play along here), and if there is one thing we have learned from the period between 2010 and 2019, it is that a lot can change.
Not just politically and socially, but in racing too. So now seems a good time to take a look back at the start of the previous decade, and ponder what lessons might be learned for the decade to come.
It is hard to remember just how tough a place MotoGP was in 2010. The world was still reeling from the impact of the Global Financial Crisis caused when the banking system collapsed at the end of 2008.
That led to a shrinking grid, with Kawasaki pulling out at the end of 2008 (though the Japanese factory was forced to continue for one more season under the Hayate banner, with one rider, Marco Melandri), and emergency measures aimed at cutting costs.
That meant that in 2010, MotoGP had only 17 permanent riders on the grid, from four different manufacturers. Hondas filled the grid, supplying six of the riders with RC212Vs, while Ducati were providing five riders, including one to the newly joined Aspar team.
Yamaha supplied four bikes then, as now, though the Tech3 Yamaha team received satellite bikes, rather than the factory spec M1s the Petronas team has now. And Suzuki still had two bikes on the grid, though 2010 was the last year that happened. A year later, they were down to a single bike, and in 2012, they were gone.
It seems Zero Motorcycles is gearing up to bring us another machine for the 2020 model year, as the electric vehicle company is teasing the release of its Zero SR/S.
Officially, the company isn’t saying more than a February 24th release date, but by connecting some obvious dots and a bit of inside information from our Bothan spies, we are pretty certain of what to expect in a month’s time.
Episode 26 of the Brap Talk podcast is now out for your two-wheeled audio pleasure, and as always, it is packed with some interesting motorcycle discussions.
In this show, we continue our European adventure from Episode 25, and talk about riding two very interesting motorcycles, as well as what’s going on at Ducati and MV Agusta.
The Grand Prix Commission is working through the unintended consequences of the decision to restrict testing in all three Grand Prix classes.
Those restrictions have been a positive aid in reducing costs, but have made it impossible to use riders not currently under contract unless their contracted riders are absent due to illness or injury.
Adding a further layer of complexity to this is the current state of the MotoGP rider’s market: with everyone out of contract at the end of 2020, and a large crop of Moto2 riders looking to step up, the factories want to take a look at riders not currently on the MotoGP grid.
On Saturday night, Karel Abraham told a meeting of his fans that he would not be back in MotoGP. The Czech rider found out on Friday that the Avintia team wanted to end their relationship, when he received an email from a notary representing the team stating in Spanish that the team would be terminating his contract.
The move can as a massive shock to Abraham. It had been completely unexpected, as he had been told at Valencia that he would be back with the team in 2020, and to turn up for the test at Jerez. Only on Saturday was he told not to travel to Jerez.
Abraham had already made arrangements, however. He also needed to recover his leathers and various other belongings which had been sitting in the Avintia truck when it was driven to Jerez for the test.
While he was at the Jerez circuit picking up his belongings, Israeli TV commentator Tammy Gorali, present in Jerez to report on the test, grabbed him and spoke to him for on our behalf. That gave Abraham a chance to give his side of the story.
As expected before the EICMA show, electric motorcycle maker Energica will bring a significant boost to its 2020 model year lineup, starting with larger capacity battery packs.
Now with 18.9 kWh (nominal) of energy onboard (the most of any production electric motorcycle on the market), the Italian brand has nearly doubled its battery capacity, without adversely affecting its models’ weight and cost.
Energica says that this battery increase is a direct result of its participation in the MotoE World Cup.