[CORRECTION: Energica reached out to us after publication of the original story to say that news of a fire was incorrect, and to stress that it never happened. Gresini Racing also said that it never happened in this tweet. MotoE-centric publication ePaddock also says that it never happened. Due to a fractured femur, Alessandro Zaccone was unable to compete in the MotoE race over the weekend. We at RideApart wish him a speedy and complete recovery.]
Original story follows.
You know that saying “third time’s a charm?” Well, a third MotoE fire suddenly broke out on July 15, 2020. Once again, the incident happened in the paddock at Jerez, which is the same place where the 2019 fire that destroyed all bikes involved occurred.
If there’s good news about the July, 2020 fire, it’s that it only involved one bike, and also that people extinguished it almost immediately. Racer Alessandro Zaccone’s bike was the only one affected, and it is now officially unrideable, so he’ll be riding a spare bike for the upcoming race weekend.
So far, details about the incident are slim. We know the fire happened at around 11 p.m., after a full day of testing at the track. The bike was sitting in the paddock when it suddenly lit up, seemingly on its own. According to Motociclismo, theories about the incident are currently swirling madly around the paddock. Was there some kind of energy absorption and loading issue? Also, the bike had apparently crashed at turn 11 sometime during testing. The incident was thought to be fairly minor at the time, but could it have been enough to cause some damage that the team didn’t know about?
As we mentioned, this is the third unexplained MotoE fire to have happened in the series’ young history. Racers in general can be a superstitious lot, so thankfully for everyone, the second fire happened in August, 2019 at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. If this was three fiery incidents at Jerez, you almost couldn’t blame people for wondering if there was some kind of weird curse on that series at that track.
The most recent fire combines elements of both of the first two fires. Like fire number one, it took place at Jerez. Like fire number two, it involved only a single racer’s bike, and it was quickly extinguished. The Austria fire involved the Ego Corse of racer Niki Tuuli. In both single-bike fires, no one was hurt.
There’s a lot to love about fast, sexy electric sportbikes. The idea of stealthy speed is honestly pretty exciting, especially when it’s wrapped up in such a good-looking package as these bikes. Even if Zaccone’s minor crash is found to be what incited the fire later in the evening, regular people are going to have minor tip-overs. When it happens with a piston-engined bike, you yell a lot, pick it up, and go on about your day. Usually, you’re not worried that your bike will suddenly and randomly catch fire. If MotoE bikes continue to randomly catch fire, it doesn’t exactly build confidence for consumer-oriented Egos. As motorcyclists, we accept a certain amount of risk, but spontaneous immolation of our rides usually isn’t a source of concern.