Have you been following the 2023 Mission Super Hooligan National Championship race series? If you have, then chances are good that you’ve already seen what Energica and racer Stefano Mesa are bringing to the table. As the only team fielding an electric motorcycle in a field full of combustion bikes, it’s been particularly interesting to watch.

We had the chance to speak with Energica Chief Technical Officer Giampiero Testoni and Energica Chief Executive Officer Stefano Benatti about the 2023 Super Hooligans season, racing in general, and how what the team learns on track transfers to its production bikes. If you haven’t checked out that interview yet and you’re reading this one, it’s definitely something else that might interest you.

One important part of the story who can’t possibly be overlooked is Stefano Mesa, who’s been racing the Energica Eva Ribelle on track throughout the 2023 Super Hooligan season. RideApart also had the chance to speak with him about how things are going so far. At the time of writing, there’s just one Super Hooligan weekend left on the calendar, which will run from September 8 through 10, 2023 at Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Here’s what he had to say. This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity. 

2023 Mission Super Hooligan National Championship - Energica - Stefano Mesa Racing

How does it feel to be the first racer to compete against a field full of combustion bikes on an electric bike for a full season? 

It’s pretty cool being part of the future racing an electric bike against gas powered bikes. it’s been definitely a challenge getting the thing going fast and competitive, but we have made very good progress with it. 

As an experienced racer who’s run plenty of laps on combustion bikes, what are the biggest differences in racing the Energica versus other bikes you’ve raced in the past? 

Just the power delivery and the weight of it. Power delivery is insane, and it’s always ready to take off. The weight just feels different.

How challenging is it to go between the Energica and the Kawasaki since you’re racing in both Super Hooligan and Supersport this season? 

It can definitely be challenging. I think the hardest part is braking markers and going from a low bike to an upright motorcycle as Super Hooligans are. 

How did it feel to get the holeshot with Energica in Super Hooligan Race One at Laguna Seca?

Getting the holeshot at Laguna Seca was awesome. Ever since we started with Energica we knew it was possible to get the holeshot, but to actually do it was simply amazing. I know how much it meant to the team and to Energica, so I’m very happy that I actually managed to achieve it. 

2023 Mission Super Hooligan National Championship - Energica

You’re currently running sixth in the Super Hooligan overall standings and second in the Supersport overall standings. With only Circuit of the Americas remaining in September in Super Hooligan, and the four remaining race weekends to run in Supersport, what do you think about what you’ve accomplished so far? 

I think our season has been very good so far. Being a new team, we’ve had a very solid season and we keep making improvements every weekend. Especially if we consider that we didn’t have much testing, so we kind of have to learn in the process. This is a learning year for us, and I think we have achieved very good things so far. 

What would you say is the most important thing for anyone who’s never ridden an electric bike, especially on track, to understand about riding and racing them?

I think the power delivery is very underestimated. Having so much power in your right wrist means that you need to always be focused when opening the throttle, and at the end of the race it is especially important. Obviously my experience ends with the race track! 

How does it feel to be the one who broke the electric-motorcycle outright lap record at Laguna, which lasted for so many years?

It was very cool to break the record at Laguna, especially because it’s been there for so long. [Ed. note: The previous lap record at Laguna Seca was set by Steve Rapp in 2011 aboard the Mission R Prototype.] I think it really shows what the future has to bring. It’s not just the record itself, but the fact that the pace of the Eva Ribelle was so much quicker, it shows how far electric motorcycles have gone. I mean, to be racing against internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles says it all.

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