The Ducati MotoE bike has been built and is already testing

The motorcycle Ducati will race in the MotoE World Cup from 2023 is already built and undergoing testing in Italy with Michele Pirro

Ducati MotoE sketch

The all-new electric Ducati racer that will supply the entire MotoE World Cup grid in 2022 is already built and undergoing testing, according to Ducati Corse boss Claudio Domenicali.

The storied Italian marque was named as the surprise choice to replace Energica as the control supplier for the all-electric MotoE World Cup from 2023 as part of a four-year term.

The MotoE World Cup was added as a fourth category to selected rounds of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship circuit in 2019, but unlike MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 has to date run with production-based Energica Ego Corse models.

With Energica’s tenure concluding at the end of the 2022 MotoE season, Ducati will take over from 2023 with a brand-new prototype-based sportbike that it previewed in an artists’ rendering at the time of the announcement.

Though the model will help Ducati form the basis for new electric roadgoing models in future, its MotoE model will stand alone as a race bike only.

Bearing a similar look to that of its Panigale range, though the model is yet to be seen in the flesh, Domenicali says it is already built and undergoing testing with Michele Pirro at the controls.

"Right now, Michele Pirro is with MotoE in Misano, where our electric bike is going on the track for the first time," Domenicali told GPOne.

“A dedicated racing department has been created,” added Gigi Dall'Igna, General Manager of Ducati Corse. "A prototype was built in a few months - and the group is envied by everyone because they have practically a free hand [to develop]."

Why Ducati was a surprise choice… and why not everyone is happy

While Energica had intimated that it would conclude its MotoE supply at the end of 2022, few expected Ducati to be announced as its replacement.

The red-blooded Italian marque has regularly dodged the notion that electric will become the dominant power choice for its models, even dismissing it as a fad in recent years. 

However, with legislation that assures electric’s future now set in stone, Ducati has been forced into a change of opinion and has duly pulled a masterstroke in securing the MotoE tender for four years.

Why? Well, Ducati seems keen to side-step being seen as a roadgoing innovator in electric because public opinion for it remains heavily weighted in the negative, thus it is likely to leave it as long as possible to integrate electric into its range.

However, by supplying MotoE it will garner plenty of green-minded publicity without going down the route of expensive development, giving it time to hone the electric powertrain before its first model appears, most likely down the line in 2028, according to Domenicali.

Even so, some manufacturers have been incredulous to Dorna’s decision to side with Ducati in a move that - together with its eight MotoGP bikes - will give it a huge platform for promotion.

Indeed, it was anticipated MotoE would become an ‘open’ championship with a set regulation that allowed other manufacturers to supply bikes to the grid in a similar vein to Formula E. Energica has already said this is what it expected and part of the reason why it stepped aside, not least because the electric marketplace is lagging behind its four-wheel counterparts in terms of image.

Moreover, with the high costs associated with MotoGP deterring new brands from entering, it is thought the cheaper route of MotoE, plus a desire to promote forthcoming electric models, would have enticed the likes of Triumph, Kawasaki and BMW to the grid.