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Ducati MotoE prototype V21L takes it to the track at Misano

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  • Ducati MotoE prototype V21L takes it to the track at Misano

    As reported previously, Ducati is set to take over from Energica as the official supplier of the FIM MotoE Championship starting from 2023. The MotoE runs as a support class to the MotoGP series and all the bikes on the grid were (and will be in 2022) supplied by Energica. Starting from 2023 though, Ducati's electric racer will take over and the Bologna brand is already on the track with a prototype.



    Testing and development are key when it comes to preparing a motorcycle to race on a platform like MotoE. And Ducati seems poised to put 2022 to good use for just that. Ducati has generally been a little noncommital when it comes to electric bikes so the announcement of them being the supplier for MotoE was a bit of a surprise. Even more surprising is the fact that in less than eight weeks after the announcement, they have a prototype racer lapping Misano.

    Talking about the motorcycle, Ducati's electric racer is codenamed V21L. There's no explanation in terms of the name and the brand is withholding any details regarding the specifications of the bike. But they have released some testing photos and based on that, one can see that carbon fibre dominates the design of the motorcycle.



    The sixth element has also been used for the central monocoque-like chassis that should serve as the home for the batteries with the motor below it. The radiator that can be seen lower and in the front section of the belly points to possible liquid-cooling for the motor and the electronics. Weight savings must be high on the priority list which is contrary to the norm of electric motorcycle design. But then, this is Ducati we're talking about and high-performance sort of comes with the name.



    Even in the official statement, Ducati has mentioned weight saving as the biggest challenge considering the direct proportionality of battery's size, range, and thus the weight. The Bologna brand has iterated that even with their electric motorcycle, their goal is to create a lightweight high-performance motorcycle that conforms to the brand's high standards.



    For now, at least, things seem to be going in the right direction in that regard. Ducati's long-standing development rider, Michelle Pirro, has come away impressed with the V21L. He said: “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.”



    Now, the V21L will be seen in action on the racetracks in 2023. And conventional wisdom states that MotoE is a platform that ultimately leads from prototype to production. But Ducati has hinted that it might not happen soon. They believe that in their current state, electric motorcycles do not meet the brand's minimum requirements in terms of performance, character, and weight. But with the V21L already hitting the tracks, it might pave way for the solution to most of those problems. In that sense, a production variant may not be on the horizon just yet, but it might just happen.
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