The first practice session was uneventful for most, but Thad Wolff’s Moto Electra motor caught fire, forcing him to ride into the gravel at Turn 4. The corner marshals were able to put it out before the smoke turned to fire, but there was quite a bit of smoke. Wolff had located a replacement motor and most likely spent last night doing a motor swap in time for this afternoon’s Qualifying Practice.
Another bike that was on fire, but in a good way, was the Mission R. Because this is a brand-new bike which had yet to turn a wheel, many people had been doubtful of its potential. AMA Pro Racing veteran Steve Rapp charged through practice, completing 4 of 9 laps in the high 1:33’s, with a best time of 1:33.714, only 11 seconds slower than MotoGP Champion Jorge Lorenzo in practice the same day.
AMA Pro Racer Shelina Moreda was only able to get the eCRP down to 2:00.5, but this is only an 8.8KwH bike and it’s her first time riding an electric motorcycle.
Brammo’s Steve Atlas was 5th fastest in practice, with a best time of 1:44.52. Brammo and MotoCzysz are the ones most threatened by Mission Motors’ surprisingly powerful R. However, this is only practice, and we all know that in order to finish first, one must first finish. Below is the retail version of the Brammo Empulse, in the same place it stood one year ago when it was first unveiled.
I had an uplifting chat with Brammo’s Adrian Stewart who told me about the extremely high level of quality control and depth of knowledge at the factory they’re using. Because they’re adding a 6-speed gearbox to the Empulse, the release has been delayed. However, he explained the way they work with their factory and how much information they need to be able to give them. For something as new and different as a 6-speed electric motorcycle, it’s a lot of information. So now I’m feeling better about having to wait a little longer.
I also sat down to chat with Michael Czysz about racing at Laguna Seca, and he is very interested in hearing your questions. Any questions posted in the comments will be asked by me on Sunday morning.