The fire that has devastated the MotoE paddock was the absolutely worst thing that could happen at the start of this new adventure. As well as the financial damage, and the time needed to recover all the material, the championship's image has been compromised. We won't know for another few weeks when the first race will be able to take place, or whether the Jerez race, already cancelled, can be rescheduled.
“Within two weeks, we'll know how long it will take to build new bikes” explains Francesco Guidotti, manager of the Pramac team, taking part in the MotoE series with Alex De Angelis and Josh Hook.
Having seen the images of the fire, many have doubts about the safety of the MotoE. What do you think?
“In November, our technicians took part in two courses, one on general bike functionality and the other regarding the prevention of all kinds of risks. During that course, they explained what checks to carry out before starting to work on the bikes and how to behave in an emergency”.
Did they explain what to do in case of fire?
“No, but that's not done for MotoGP either. There are three specialist marshals on hand at all times though, they work for the same company that takes care of safety in FormulaE. If our technicians identifying any alarm signals on the bike, they can inform those guys immediately”.
Could the events of Jerez have been prevented?
“First we need to await the results of the investigation, it seems that the fire started from a charge station prototype supplied by Enel X. I think what happened came to a series of circumstances, a borderline case”.
Who recharges the bikes?
“Normally the teams, there is a charger for each bike in the garage. The problem at Jerez was that the circuit's power supply couldn't handle their absorption. To prevent any charging problems, such as one battery charging and other not, the technicians working for Enel told us that they would take care of it. We left the track between 9.30 and 10pm and they stayed behind to charge the bikes”.
Are you left with doubts about the safety of the championship?
“We're not being thrown under a bus. As I've said, our technicians have been trained and the Energica guys are always available and fully supportive. This is why we have one single paddock: as it's all new, we can exchange information more quickly and often have meetings together”.
Were there any technical issues with the bikes during testing?
“No, I'll explain how it works. We arrive at the track and are given the bikes, which have been drawn ahead of time. Each rider has two technicians who follow that bike and its a fairly simple job, with work being done on the chassis, brakes, wheels and little else, there are mappings to vary the engine character, but those are pre-set. A certain about of attention needs to be paid of course, as we're dealing with 400 volts, but the mechanics are prepared. We had to sort Josh's bike after a crash and there were no issues ”.