This weekend featured the first world level electric motorcycle racing series, MotoE. Billed as the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, MotoE racing is being featured at MotoGP events as a “lower” category series.
First Moto E event
The first event was held at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany. Finnish rider Niki Tuuli took the first ever win in the series. The red flag shortened race had Tuuli finishing first, English ex-MotoGP racer Bradley Smith finishing second with French ex-MotoGP racer Mike Di Meglio rounding out the podium.
The MotoGP series does not publish attendance figures for individual races so it’s hard to know how many people came to watch the MotoE racing.
But can MotoE racing survive in the internal combustion engined (ICE) realm of thundering exhaust notes and high revving, ear-splitting engine whine?
Varying MotoE opinions
According to Motorsport Magazine, the MotoGP paddock opinion of MotoE is split three ways. Some people hate it, others love it and the remaining people really don’t care about it.
The first two groups, hate it and love it, seem to be separated by a generational gap. People who have been around the paddock for many years generally hate it while those younger people who grew up with electronics and energy drinks love it.
For example, Carlo Pernat one of MotoGP’s old guard hates it.
“They may be the future, but they’re not my future.”
But asking Mugen Isle of Man TT winner Michael Rutter what he thinks about MotoE resulted in him saying, “It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, so you may as well embrace it.”
Moto E issues
So if MotoE is here to stay, what could some of the issues be? Cleary the loss of the sound and thunder of internal combustion engines is one but what else?
- While the automobile industry is spending billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles, that’s not the case with the motorcycle industry. For the most part, major manufacturers are waiting on the sidelines until battery technology improves.
- Dorna created the MotoE series. But the lack of motorcycle manufacturer investment in electric motorcycles forced Dorna’s hand. Dorna had to make the series a low cost, one make production series. Unfortunately, at this time, there really isn’t enough manufacturer, sponsor and TV cash to promote a series of another kind.
Can MotoE survive
So with the handicaps of almost no ICE sensory excitement, no major motorcycle manufacturers developing electric motorcycles, and a single make, low funding racing series, the question becomes, can the series survive. Right now the series is a bit of an oddity, but once the “newness” wears off, will people come to see MotoE racing and will it last long enough for the major motorcycle manufacturers to join the party?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured picture photo credit: Ajo Motorsport