As a man who has raced elbow to elbow with the finest motorcycle racers in the world, Max Biaggi isn’t your average EV ambassador.
He arrived in the premier class of motorcycle racing a four-time 250cc world champion, and would go toe-to-toe with the likes of Valentino Rossi in a bitter rivalry for multiple seasons in the early 2000s. After leaving MotoGP he became a double World Superbike champion with Aprilia in 2010 and 2012.
These days, however, he works with the Venturi Formula E team as an EV ambassador, helping to promote the development of electric vehicles, the team and the series.
The announcement was made shortly after he completed a demo run of the Formula E car during the series’ first visit to his home city of Rome, which he says has given him a lot of perspective on the technology surrounding electric vehicles.
“It’s always good to have a nice watch on the future. The E-world is another dimension compared to the engine and racing that we see in Formula 1 and motorcycles,” he told FormulaSpy.
“Honestly people have to know about this world by seeing, and maybe by jumping in, this car or on the bike, because it’s a completely different feeling. They will not expect there’s so much technology in the E-world. I found out for myself in Rome when I drove one of these cars.”
Biaggi also rode an electric motorcycle during the Italian MotoGP race weekend at Mugello, which will be used in the FIM MotoE World Cup which is due to start in 2019 on the MotoGP support bill.
“It was strange because for 20 years I only rode motorcycles with a real engine but I was surprised. It was smooth and pulled nice torque.
“Top speed of course is not there like MotoGP, but 250kph is not bad. Mugello is one of the longest straights ever and you hit 360kph with MotoGP, but only 250kph with MotoE but that was only a demo lap to show to the people.
“It’s fast in the corners but one day I’m sure will be fast on the straights.”
Currently residing in Monaco, where the Venturi team is based, and being old friends with its president Gildo Pastor, made Venturi the obvious place for Biaggi to settle in to.
He also believes Venturi to be a dark horse for the near future, with the arrival of Felipe Massa to the team, and the supply of powertrains to the Mercedes subdivision HWA for its inaugural season.
“We are working close. They’re based in Monaco where I live, and Gildo and I are old friends. I like the way they see the electric world, they have a nice view. Even 10-15 years ago, he believed in electric, so had a few projects. The fastest electric car in the world was up to him.
“I think next season this team will be very strong, Mercedes will be on and we will see something for sure nice with Massa driving with this team.
“I think it’s going to be a high expectation, but also it depends on how the test goes. But all they need is there, so we’ll see next year how they start the season but I think they’re going to make a big jump on where they are now.”
Biaggi said that since getting involved in the EV world he hopes to disprove many preconceptions about EVs, and is currently looking at buying an electric car for the road.
“Of course there are preconceptions about something new, because the new thing is scaring the people. They say it won’t happen or it won’t give the same feeling.
“I’ve been asked a thousand times what I think about EVs and Formula E, always my answer was the same, I didn’t expect the car to be so advanced and the power of the car is so nice, smooth out of the corner, and it’s powerful too. Of course don’t expect to go 300kph but we are in the middle of a city where you will never race F1 or DTM cars.
“Honestly I’m very close to buying an electric car myself, because I think in the city there is nothing better than that, for many reasons. I tested a few car on the road and there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re powerful, fast, all you need is there.”