Sometimes it is hard to write a press release. As part of an amazing new project, the emotions may get in the way of rational thinking. Long story short, Tytlers Cycle Racing’s Stefano Mesa rode the Energica Eva Ribelle RS (equipped with the Kit Corsa Clienti) to the second place of the podium in a series almost exclusively made of ICE motorcycles. Can you believe it? We are still trying to come to terms with it – but yes, it happened.
The Circuit of The Americas, also known as CoTA, is a long track, 3.426 miles, even longer than Daytona, with 20 corners. And it was hot there, very hot: 39°C in the air (102°F) and a lot more on the asphalt. What on paper could technically hold an electric motorcycle back, did not: Stefano got off to an amazing start into second and then third place, and then held his own until a red flag forced him back to the pits; he did even better as soon as the action resumed, staying in podium contention and making the most of the incredible opportunity.
The signs were all there: despite being his first time racing at CoTA, Mesa seemed to enjoy the track from practice already, and then Qualifying 1 turned into a fifth place on the grid. The situation was under control, so much so that both team and riders agreed to sit out Qualifying 2 in order to preserve the battery for the afternoon’s race, knowing that it would be scorching hot out there under the Texan late summer sun. But how would the package fare on the full race distance? That was the answer only the ultimate trial could have given.
The start saw Mesa adeptly avoiding McWilliams as the latter struggled to get the bike off the line (the veteran had another theory about it, but never mind), while the Colombian used all the torque (a lot of torque!) available to still gain a couple of places before reaching the top of the hill and diving into the slow hairpin that Turn 1 is.
Mesa fought hard and was very aggressive on the brakes, making life difficult for Cory West who eventually high-sided out of the encounter. The same fate happened near the end to McWilliams after fighting a long and heated battle with teammate O’Hara. This opened the door to an unexpected promotion from third to second for Mesa, who ecstatically raised his fist in the air as he crossed the finish line in front of an over-the-moon crew, joined this time around by Energica’s CTO Giampiero Testoni and the #EnergicaOwners who truthfully had no better way to celebrate the 2023 Energica Week.
You can imagine the joy (mixed with disbelief) in the Tytlers Cycle Racing pit, as the whole team celebrated yet another historical result: the first podium finish of any electric against endothermic at CoTA or to our knowledge, anywhere on the globe.
It’s appropriate here to thank some of the people who’ve made this possible, Stefano Mesa and his parents who have so staunchly supported him through many ups and downs; team principal Michael Kiley (in the picture above to the left, next to Stefano’s dad Mauricio), whose vision and enthusiasm gave birth to this project. A special thank you must also be given to all our MotoAmerica Racing Partners and especially to Energica’s Main Racing Partner PETRONAS IONA who supported us in every step of the way.
Incredible as it sounds, based on our own calculations (official standings are yet to be published on the MotoAmerica website) Mesa is now fifth in the championship standings, only one point away from fourth position. And there is one more race tomorrow, live as always on MotoAmerica’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Whatever your plan is, make sure to tune in (it works great on mobile devices, too!).