Manufacturers have used spec racing series to promote their products for years. KTM used the Red Bull Rookies Cup to drive up sales, and before that, Harley-Davidson tried to excite new young riders with the AMA XR1200 racing series. However, do these single spec racing series help niche markets in motorcycling? This is a critical question in today’s motorcycle marketplace, and with the FIM releasing the Moto-e spec series in 2019, it’s a question we may learn the answer to soon.
One Manufacturer to Rule the FIM Moto-e World Cup
The world is slowly embracing electric technology as the next step in the evolution of commuter vehicles. This includes motorcycles, and while range and charge times have many motorcyclists skeptical that eMotorcycles will catch on, race promoters are banking on the new technology. Dorna, governing body of MotoGP, has just announced signing Energica as the sole bike provider for the new Moto-e World Cup.
This new racing series will run at select locations on the MotoGP calendar. Each race will last 10 laps, and it’s expected to draw somewhere between 15 and 20 entrants. Dorna is encouraging current MotoGP teams to enter teams, but it will take time to see who joins the field. Meanwhile, 2014 World Superbike Champion Sylvain Guintoli has tested one of the Energica Ego prototype racers on Michelin spec-tires. He claims the ride was fun, but there’s still some concern about the series.
As a promotion tool for electric motorcycling, the spec-racing series may not seem like the best idea. Remember that Moto2 is a spec-series running Honda 600cc engines, but even the series was unable to save the supersport segment of the motorcycling market. After Euro4 emission rules went into effect, most manufacturers decided against investing capital into developing new 600cc motorcycles. Now Moto2 is being transformed into a Triumph spec racing series featuring the three-cylinder 765cc engine found in the manufacturers naked bike—the Speed Triple.
Considering how young eMotorcycling is, having a single manufacturer in the series seems limiting, but the executives at Dorna seem to realize this. The organization has mentioned that Energica is only signed for the inaugural season of the Moto-e series, and based on how the series is received, more manufacturers may be courted to join the grid.
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