It was a grim sight in the early hours of today, as the MotoE paddock that had been erected in Jerez burned to the ground. A shared space for all the MotoE World Cup teams and riders, word from Spain is that the flames engulf all of the Energica Ego Corsa race bikes for this years series.
The damage will obviously mean that the opening round of the series, which was set to be at Jerez, will not occur, but Dorna says that the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup will take place this year, despite today’s setback.
A calendar for the later race dates will be released, most likely when Dorna and Energica (the single-spec bike provider) can figure out how long it will take to build the 20 or so race bikes that the series needs. From what we hear, the last motorcycles for the MotoE series were just delivered to Dorna a few weeks ago.
The fortunate part in all this news is that the losses today were only material, with no one hurt in the blaze, though pictures from the fire show it to be quite the event.
Still unsure what the cause of the fire was (and an investigation is underway) – but when lithium ion batteries burn, they really burn. pic.twitter.com/m36Thuw0Lc
— Simon Patterson (@denkmit) March 14, 2019
At this time, there isn’t too much information going out of Jerez about what caused the fire, though Dorna has confirmed that no bikes were charging at the time of the incident. There is an interesting rumor that the fire was started by diesel generator, but that is unsubstantiated at this point in time, and might just be paddock gossip.
Conversely, Dorna says that a full investigation into what caused the fire will take place, which is unsurprising considering the material and logistical loses caused by this incident. As well, the series promoter will also be keen to highlight the safety around these high-voltage superbikes.
For those who haven’t been following the MotoE World Cup, the race is a single-spec electric motorcycle World Cup that uses teams already within the grand prix paddock. The bikes are basically turnkey, with only the suspension components being operable by the teams. Dorna also manages the bike distribution.
The MotoE field was at Jerez this week, conducting their second test before the start of the 2019 season.
Created to promote electric motorcycle racing, the series was intriguing because it used teams already familiar to MotoGP fans, along with recognizable racers. Top names included Sete Gibernau, Bradley Smith, Randy de Puniet, Alex de Angelis, Niccolo Canepa, and many others.
The machinery is based off the Energica Ego street bike, though with much larger battery packs, carbon fiber bodywork, and significant diet. As we’ve already shown Asphalt & Rubber readers, the race bikes look quite good in person.
With a sprint race format, the racing in the MotoE class is expected to be quite close and fierce on the track, which should enhance the racing spectacle for fans.
It is not clear at this time when the series will have its opening race, though we would expect later in the summer. We will keep you informed with more news, as we get it.
JOINT STATEMENT FROM ENERGICA, DORNA AND ENEL
March 15th, 2019 – Although we are awaiting the official conclusion of the investigation by local police, initial evidence regarding the cause of the fire at the E-paddock of the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on March 14th seems to point to a short circuit as the main cause of the incident.
The source of the short circuit has yet to be identified but, once the fire broke out, it ignited the high-density battery which is part of the high-performance charger used at MotoE™ events.
The motorbikes were not connected to the charging infrastructure at the time the fire began.