Ducati chooses weight over power for 2023 MotoE racer – but is it still too heavy?

“For electric motorcycles, the biggest issue is weight,” said Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, during last October’s announcement that the Italian factory had won the MotoE contract for 2023-2026.

“So we have a program to make the bike as light as possible. I think that was one of the winning ones [features of our bid] for Dorna.”

Ducati’s electric diet so far has resulted in a machine weight of 225kg for the new ‘V21L’ prototype, compared to 260kg for the current Energica machines, which have filled the grid since the debut of the FIM MotoE World Cup in 2019.

That 225kg is 12kg below the target weight set by Dorna and FIM, with a weight distribution similar to that of Ducati’s other race bikes.

Bike weights:

  • Energica MotoE = 260 kg
  • Ducati MotoE = 225kg
  • MotoGP = 157kg
  • Moto2 rider + bicycle = 217 kg (assuming an average rider weight of 65 kg, bicycle = 152 kg)
  • Moto3 rider + bicycle = 152 kg (assuming an average rider weight of 65 kg, bicycle = 87 kg)

Best race lap times (Mugello 2022)

  • MotoGP = 1m 46.588s
  • Moto2 = 1m 52.323s
  • Moto3 = 1m 57,243s
  • MotoE = 1m 58,939s

With lap times yet to be released for the Ducati electric bike, weight is currently the standout stat for the V21L compared to current Energica machines.

The horsepower is currently the same as that of the Energica (110 kW or 150 hp), while the torque will be significantly reduced, from 220 Nm for the Energica to 140 Nm for the Ducati.

Ducati explained that there were two options for achieving the required MotoE race distance (6-8 laps, depending on the track); choose a lighter bike with less battery power, or a heavier bike with more battery power.

Finally, ‘we agreed that the best option was the first’.

The main reason was that a heavier weight influences the dynamic behavior (cornering, braking and acceleration).

So Ducati challenged itself to ‘make the lightest bike possible’ and ‘understand where we could go in terms of lightness and performance’.

The top speed of the Ducati electric motorcycle is 275 km/h at Mugello, effectively equivalent to the top speed of 272.7 km/h of the Energica at the Italian MotoE round in May.

Other technical details revealed by Ducati include:

Battery Pack: ‘Featured by a shape specifically designed to follow the natural course of the bike’s center section. The battery pack weighs 110 kg and offers a capacity of 18 kWh with a 20 kW charging socket integrated in the tail. Inside are 1,152 cylindrical cells of the type ‘21700’.

Note: A MotoGP fuel tank is 22 liters or 22 kg.

converter: ‘With a low weight of 5 kg, [the inverter unit is] derived from a high-performance model used in motorsport for electric vehicles, while the engine (weight 21 kg and a maximum rotational speed of 18,000 rpm) was developed by a partner according to Ducati technical specifications. The whole system is based on a voltage of 800V (with a fully charged battery pack) to maximize the power of the electric powertrain and therefore the performance and range.”

Cooling System: “One of the most advanced technical solutions tested on the Ducati MotoE. The prototype components are in fact cooled by a highly advanced and efficient dual circuit fluid system designed to meet the different thermal needs of the battery pack and motor/converter unit

This guarantees an extreme regularity of temperatures with important advantages in terms of consistency of performance, but also in charging times. It’s not even necessary to wait for the battery to cool down to start the process: the Ducati MotoE can be charged as soon as it enters the garage and it takes about 45 minutes to charge it to 80% of its range.”

Battery Pack: The carbon fiber housing of the battery pack also acts as a tense part of the chassis, like the Ducati Panigale V4 engine, with an aluminum monocoque front frame weighing 3.7kg.

Swingarm: “A 4.8kg aluminum swingarm with geometry similar to that of the Ducati Desmosedici racing in MotoGP. The rear subframe, which integrates the tail and driver’s seat, is made of carbon fiber’.

Delay: ‘Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurized fork with 43mm diameter upside-down tubes at the front, derived from the Superleggera V4, while an Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber is present at the rear and is fully adjustable’.

Brakes: “The braking system is supplied by Brembo and is tailored to the specific requirements of the Ducati MotoE. At the front, it is composed of a 338.5mm diameter double steel disc with increased thickness, which has fins on the internal diameter with the aim of increasing the thermal exchange surface area and improving disc cooling in conditions of extreme use on the circuit . Two GP4RR M4 32/36 calipers with a PR19/18 radial master cylinder operate on this dual disc.

“At the rear, the P34 caliper works on a single disc unit 220mm in diameter and 5mm thick with a PS13 master cylinder.

Teams can also choose to equip their bikes with an optional rear brake control on the left handlebar, which the rider can use as an alternative to the pedal control.

Electronics: “The goal was to achieve throttle response like that of an endothermic unit and a response from the electronic controls (such as Traction Control, Slide Control, Wheelie Control and throttle/engine brake maps) that is indistinguishable from that of the racing bikes those Ducati riders are used to’

Michele PirrozAlex De Angelis and Chaz Davies have all been involved in test rides with the new machine.

Claudio Domenicali: ‘The result we have achieved is surprising’

“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 as a priority if we are to maintain the delicate balance of the planet.

“As Ducati, we understood this need and looked for a challenge that would allow us to contribute to the common goal of reducing CO₂ emissions while staying true to our DNA associated with racing .

“We have firmly agreed to develop the highest-performing electric road bike that today’s technology enables and to use this project as a laboratory to build our future.

“The result we have achieved is surprising. As soon as I was on the bike I realized the quality of the team’s work and when I returned to the garage I felt a deep sense of pride for what we could achieve again.”

18 of the new Ducati MotoE bikes will be on the grid in 2023.

Ducati’s long-term goal is to use the MotoE project to experiment with innovative technologies, train new skills and study how, once technology allows, a Ducati electric vehicle can be created that is sporty, light, exciting and able to be satisfied. all lovers’.

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