Kawasakis are rare in enduro, it is rarer still to see them winning but that’s exactly what Alessandro Battig and the E50 Racing team pulled off in 2018 with the European title.
Born in the winter of 2017 from an idea of Emilio Comotti and Simone Albergoni, E50 Racing hit the ground running in 2018. The experience of Comotti and Albergoni (former EnduroGP and current Italian championship rider) with the support of Kawasaki Italia, has produced the overall European Championship with rider Alessandro Battig, plus the European Team Championship and the over 250 four-stroke title all in their first season.
Racing in the Italian Championship, Battig also pulled third overall in the 450 class behind Alex Salvini and Thomas Oldrati – a strong result in this highly competitive domestic championship.
All of this on the rarest of rare beasts in enduro, a Kawasaki. It’s even rarer to see a green bike crowned champion. We caught up with E50 Racing to find out a little more...
Can you tell us about E50 Racing? Who are you and where are you at?
E50 racing: “We started in 2016 with Kawasaki, competing in Enduro World Championship and Assoluti d'Italia (Italy’s premier enduro championship). This year we evolved in E50 Racing and doubled our efforts: besides the Kawasaki four strokes ridden by Alessandro Battig and Maurizio Martinelli, we have Simone Albergoni and Luca Marcotulli on the GasGas two-strokes, provided by FG Distribution the Gas Gas Italian distributor.”
Alessandro Battig had a great year, he has a background in motocross doesn’t he? When did he switch to enduro?
“Alessandro is 26, was competing in motocross since he was a kid, yes. He raced in the MX2 World Championship, but then we decided to switch to Enduro in 2013, grabbing some good results both in national series and EWC.
“Quickly he had success with E1 Italian Champion in 2015. It all went down the last special test of the very last day against…Simone Albergoni, who later became his team manager! “We are glad to have Alessandro with us, he has improved a lot his feeling with the Kawasaki during these two year, clinching the Overall European title which is of course very prestigious for us.”
This season started well with a win at the opening round of the European championship – is it true you did not plan to do the whole season until Alessandro won that race?
“Yes, it was not planned at the beginning of the season. Battig decided to participate in the first race in Italy to train. He won the Scratch both days and thought it was worthy to keep on doing the series.”
What do you like about the European Championship? The season is already busy with many races and the Europeans have to fit in around International and National series...
“We believe that now it is already a good compromise: it is affordable for the teams and having more rounds could be risky participation-wise.”
Racing a Kawasaki in enduro is not so common! Does the bike adapt well for enduro? It is a good bike and the current crop of MX bikes are so agile…
“No, it's not that common! The standard bike is awesome but of course it still needs some adjustments to get competing at the highest levels. We have been working on both the 250F and the 450F for three years now and we think we have reached very good results.”
Can you tell us some of the parts you change to use the KX450F in enduro?
“We change many things but we would say the main parts we change are: STM Audax complete clutch, hydraulic clutch command, decompressed (lower compression) Vertex piston, new ECU map, ZARD complete exhaust system, plus obviously new plastics and lighting by UFO Plastics.
“Our current 450F does not have the electric start, but it will in 2019. We do change the final drive and we install a different, home-made flywheel as well.”
2019 will bring new bikes and new challenges for E50 Racing including defending championships and moving forward. It is good to see Kawasakis racing and winning at a high level of competition.
More information from the E50 Team Facebook page
Jon PearsonEnduro21 Editor and Bike Testerjon.email@example.com