A bit of a Christmas surprise landed in our inbox today, as the Ducati MotoE project is further along than expected, with their “V21L” prototype bike caught making laps at the Misano World Circuit.
The bike is the first iteration of what will be raced in the MotoE World Cup, starting in the 2023 season.
And while Ducati just announced its intent to takeover that series a few months ago, the Italian brand is clearly far from the beginning stages of that project.
The front of the bike looks visually very similar to the Energica Ego Corsa race bike that Ducati will be replacing, with its broad fairing that comes to a point.
This will certainly only further fuel rumors that Ducati is starting with a rebadged Energica, though whether that’s the case or not is hard to tell. Even if true, Ducati has certainly made significant enhancements to the design.
While not entirely similar from its superbike partner, the Ducati V21L does have the basic “Ducati” shape to its design, though it does feature a double-sided swingarm with an under-braced design, and progressive shock linkage.
The V21L is dripping in carbon fiber, to keep weight down, and looks very similar to the concept sketch we saw previous from Borgo Panigale. The tail is a self-supporting carbon fiber until with a solo seat (naturally).
A small oil-cooler can be seen at the bottom of the bike’s front, and what looks like a tapped radiator sits above it.
Whether the Ducati V21L needs that much cooling, or if the what appears to be the radiator is just a part of the battery housing remains to be seen.
The usual go-fast bits are installed on the Ducati V21L, with Öhlins handling the suspension, Brembo doing the brakes, and Marchesini providing the wheels.
Of note in the photos below is the fact that Ducati has Michelle Pirro riding the bike, both in dry and wet conditions, with some of the photos featuring the V21L with rain tires onboard.
Quotes about the Ducati provide few details, and one has to wonder how much of what they contain comes from the press manager’s lips. We’ll let you decide for yourself on that one…
Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director: “We are experiencing a truly extraordinary moment. I find it hard to believe it is reality and still not a dream! The first electric Ducati on the track is exceptional not only for its uniqueness but also for the type of undertaking: challenging both for its performance objectives and for its extremely short timescales. Precisely for this reason, the work of the whole team dedicated to the project has been incredible and today’s result repays us for the efforts made in recent months. We are certainly not finished yet; indeed, we know that the road ahead is still very long, but in the meantime, we have laid a first important ‘brick’.”
Michele Pirro, Ducati test rider: “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.”
The electric race bike project from Ducati is an interesting one, and we are eager to see how it compares to the Energica Ego Corsa race bike it will be replacing in a year’s time.
That machine was an intriguing and surprising ride, when we slung a leg over it in Valencia a couple years ago.