Earlier this month, Max Biaggi set a whopping 21 new records — including the speed record for a “partially streamlined electric motorcycle under 300 kilograms” — aboard the Voxan Wattman. The team managed to clock an impressive speed of 283.182mph (455.737kph). Now, a couple of weeks after his record-setting attempt, Biaggi shared his thoughts on the experience with Cycle World. Here’s what he had to say:
“When I retired from racing, I closed an important chapter of my life,” he said, “I needed a break from the pressure and emotional stress linked to racing. I withdrew as a world champion, and I was satisfied with it, because, even if I had a stellar career, the fans remember the last seasons.”
The Italian also commented on the feeling of piloting a MotoGP machine — “It’s difficult to explain the adrenaline you get when you ride a MotoGP. When visionary and pioneer Gildo Pastor told me about the unique, extreme Voxan project, all the longing for that adrenaline rush returned to the surface.”
The Cycle World report also mentions Biaggi’s experience from when he and the Voxan team flew to Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center — where he would eventually break the record.
“It was incredibly emotional to enter NASA’s spacecraft launch structure,” Biaggi said. “It is such an iconic place and I had goosebumps thinking that I would reach new speeds on the same tracks where the space shuttle had landed. That’s something that only a few years ago would have been considered futuristic or simply impossible, considering that I am riding an electric bike.”
“When you see the instruments signaling 470 kph you don’t believe your eyes. Even for a MotoGP racer used to pushing 300 kph, this is something extreme. At that speed, the track suit vibrates and burns your skin, your eyes cannot see well. There is so much turbulence that you think you can hold on, but you can’t. You don’t look anymore at what is straight ahead. You need to look wider. It’s crazy.”
Electric vehicles are typically silent, but Biaggi comments on how loud the wind was at those speeds: “When you break the wall of the air, the wind creates a really big noise. The sensation is like driving into, and then through, a wall.”
“Unlike the first time, I knew what to expect, and throughout the eight days we were at the NASA Space Center, I took care of all the details I hadn’t considered in the past. I am a maniac about this. I have always been. You can prepare everything at the best, but still, when you are sitting on the bike, waiting for the green light to start, a thousand thoughts pass into your mind. The gray ribbon of the track looks endless and infinite and merges with the sky.”
“You try not to think that you will fly at half the speed of sound, with the wind trying to impose its will,” he said. “It’s all about power, stability, and aerodynamics. Plus, the problem is not only to reach the moon but also to come back.”
“You need to brake, and at that speed it is not easy. You need to manage the rear tire and consider the temperature; that experience in MotoGP is an ally. All the senses come to support your instinct because everything is so surreal. To complicate things, you also need to brake at a specific place in order to avoid finishing off of track.”
“You won’t believe it: I asked for bigger cones because I was struggling to see them. The human brain is not used to running at that speed and all the references I had developed riding the most beautiful bikes on the planet were not useful. You need to reset everything and write a new chapter.”
“In less than a year, they have succeeded in reducing the motorcycle’s weight while increasing its power and improving its stability. Following the records we set in November 2020 in the ‘over 300 kilogram’ class, these 21 new records set another milestone. Moreover, having reached 470 kph, we achieved the highest top speed ever reached by a naked bike. It’s an absolute record, considering not only the electric bike but also those powered by an internal combustion engine. In a word: this time we ride at a space speed!”
What Biaggi and the Voxan team have achieved is undoubtedly a testament to how far electric powertrains have come.
Source: Cycle World