A massive fire at the Circuito de Jerez caused a major setback for the fledgling MotoE championship. According to reports, early in the morning of March 14, amid the second complete test of the new Energica Ego electric bikes, the paddock caught fire and quickly grew to a blaze which destroyed all 18 motorcycles in the series. Extensive asset loss above and beyond the bikes is also reported to have occurred.
Dorna released a statement indicating the cause of the fire remains under investigation, and that results will be published as soon as the inquiry is complete. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the incident.
The release from Dorna does specify that no bikes were charging at the time of the fire.
In a statement to MotoGP.com, Nicolas Goubert, executive director of the eBike class, offered these remarks:
“At the end of the day (of testing), the teams, the bikes came back to the paddock and the teams did the maintenance on the bikes… We left a small team of four people in charge of charging all the bikes to be ready for the following testing days.
“And just at the end of the charging process, they noticed that one of the boxes there was fumes coming out…and when they went there, they noticed that a prototype charging station was actually catching fire. They tried to extinguish that. Unfortunately, they couldn’t manage to extinguish it and the fire spread very rapidly to the entire tent where we had all the bikes, all the equipment for this year.”
Despite the destruction, Goubert confirmed that the MotoE championship will take place in 2019 with five events. The series was originally scheduled to start at Jerez this May, but plans have now changed and there will be no race at the circuit. A revised calendar will be released at a later date.