MotoE: Short circuit suspected as cause of Jerez fire

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MotoE bosses have confirmed initial reports that a short circuit in one of their charging units appears to have been responsible for the devastating fire that destroyed the entire 2019 grid on Wednesday night at their second test in Jerez. The fire broke out in their shared paddock space, spreading rapidly and burning down the entire mobile structure, all 18 machines, and the teams’ laptops, tools, spare parts and riding kit.

In a statement, they said:

Although we are awaiting the official conclusion of the investigation by local police, initial evidence regarding the cause of the fire at the E-paddock of the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on March 14th seems to point to a short circuit as the main cause of the incident.

The source of the short circuit has yet to be identified but, once the fire broke out, it ignited the high-density battery which is part of the high-performance charger used at MotoE™ events.

The motorbikes were not connected to the charging infrastructure at the time the fire began.

Set to start alongside the first European MotoGP race of the season at the Spanish circuit on the first weekend of May then carry on to another four circuits including Le Mans, Sachsenring, the Red Bull Ring and Misano, series bosses are now in a race against time to try and resurrect both machines and infrastructure in time to get the season underway. Already confirming that the Jerez round of the championship has been cancelled, they are yet to confirm details of the new championship structure.

Jerez’s local government, owners of the circuit, also released their own statement confirming that there was no damage to any of the track’s permanent infrastructure and that May’s Spanish Grand Prix will proceed as planned.

The series’ second test kicked off the day the fire started at Jerez, with Brazilian rider Eric Granado topping the time sheets with a 1:48.984 lap, taking over a second off the lap time set by Brit Bradley Smith back in November. Smith finished the day eighth overall, but further testing has been abandoned.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer