MotoE: Will it suffer from losing EWC riders?

With the announcement that the MotoE calendar would clash with the Endurance World Championship, many of the EWC riders have opted to pull out of the electric bike paddock to focus solely on endurance races.

This means many lesser-known riders are getting the chance to sign up to the series, some of whom have never been seen in the MotoGP paddock full time. Miquel Pons, Andre Pires and Hikari Okubo are three examples of this, with Pons being a European/Spanish Superbike championship rider, Okubo being a World Supersport rider and Pires racing mainly in Portugal and Spain, all three will get a chance to make an impact on the big stage.

Another flip side of this is the fact we have lost Marc VDS from the class, the team felt they could not replace Mike Di Meglio with a rider of similar quality with Di Meglio being a multiple World Championship winner and therefore opted to pull out. Di Meglio is one of the riders who is a strong EWC championship contender and is rightly focused on that.

MotoE’s strength has always been the shortness of its races. Born out of necessity due to the lack of range on the bikes due to battery power, this means that races never reached double figures in terms of laps which has always meant riders go hard from the off and do not have to conserve anything. This is quite literally the complete opposite of an endurance mentality and it suited the riders who were from other race paddocks with riders who have World Superbike experience in Matteo Ferrari and Jordi Torres winning both championships to date.

Marc VDS and Mike Di Meglio have left the paddock due to calendar clashes with EWC.

Domi Aegerter came in from Moto2 and was immediately strong while Eric Granado has probably been one of the fastest MotoE riders and has been racing a Honda Fireblade in Brazil for the factory Honda team as well as MotoE, he also came from Moto2 taking the CEV Moto2 championship title in 2017 before the MotoE ride came. Meanwhile, ‘bigger’ names like Xavier Simeon, Niccolo Canepa and Josh Hook were all fast but seemed to lack the final couple of 10ths to get at the front, it doesn’t seem to be coincidental that they were all EWC riders.

Now, going into 2021 the riders who were strong have remained with Ferrari looking to strike back after losing the title in 2020 and Aegerter looking to benefit from a year on the bike. Plus Granado has signed for WithU Team meaning that a move across from Avintia may be the step he needs, 2020 champion Torres will also look to defend the title in the Pons colours. The question of if any of the rookies can make an impact on seasoned veterans will be the biggest talking point.

Although they were not as outright fast, the EWC riders were controlled and always looked to finish as they have been accustomed to in the EWC championship making every lap count. The rookies may not have that capacity to ride within themselves initially, but it will be a good comparison between the EWC riders and the rookies.

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