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Monster Energy Interview: Tosha Schareina

Published On:: 22/02/2024

Catching up with Tosha Schareina about his first ever E-Xplorer FIM World Cup electric dirt bike race.

One of the hottest off-road motorcycle racers on the planet, Monster Energy/Honda Team’s Tosha Schareina, recently accepted an offer from Honda HRC to compete on its new/revolutionary CR Electric Proto motorcycle at the opening round of the 2024 E-Xplorer FIM World Cup.

Schareina, winner of multiple FIM World Rally Raid Championship events in 2023, would jet to Osaka, Japan, from his native Spain to compete in his first-ever competition aboard an electric motorcycle.

Set in the historic cultural park that hosted “Expo ’70,” the 1970 World’s Fair, the Osaka E-Xplorer FIM World Cup track, featuring man made and natural obstacles, was, unlike most dirt bike track, surrounded by incredible natural beauty and vistas in an urban setting, including features from Expo ’70 like the Tower of the Sun, Japanese Garden and the Japa Folk Crafts Museum.

Schareina would be joined by Italian racer Francesca Nocera to complete the man/woman duo, per FIM scoring rules, for Honda HRC. The race would be Nocera’s first on an electric bike as well. The two would go 2nd/2nd in their respective three rounds of racing (8 minutes + 1 lap) to give a proud Honda factory the Manufacturer’s title in their own backyard at the opening round of this year’s E-Xplorer series.

Showcasing the new CR Electric Proto, Honda looked to “push the limits of electric speed and efficiency.” Such a cool, cutting edge event. And Schareina was honored to make the trip around the world to compete for the company that also backs his gas powered off-road competition efforts.

Monster Energy caught up with Schareina and got his take on this rad event. Here’s what he had to say…

Monster Energy: Tosha! Congratulations on your podium finish and, more importantly, huge team win (along with Francesco) for Honda HRC. Prior to your trip to Japan, did you have much seat time on an electric dirt bike?

Tosha Schareina: The truth is that quite a bit, we had 8 days of testing and straight to the race.  The bike is very easy to ride but of course it is all totally new for me.


ME: Talk a bit about how the Japanese, who, throughout the history of dirt bikes, have created most of the finest two and four stroke race bikes on the planet, and how they’ve – both Honda HRC and the Japanese race fans – have accepted electric urban dirt bike racing. 

TS: First of all, it has been incredible to be able to be in Japan and HRC for the first time for me. I love the culture of respect of the Japanese. Regarding motorcycles, we all know that Honda is incredible at creating motorcycles and they have managed to do the same with this electric motorcycle – the CR Electric Proto. I think it's a good format to be able to do races in the middle of the city and attract many more people and television. I think we have to try to make a spectacle of this sport and that will be good for everyone.


ME: Interesting. The format for FIM E-Xplorer sounds really cool. Talk about the track layout in Osaka.

TS: It is a very young championship and everything indicates that each race will be different about the track. But it will be the same format for the type of laps.  Free practice on Friday and qualifying and three heats for Saturday. In Osaka we had a very slow circuit, with wooden jumps, but with a hard sand floor. The place was emblematic, right in front of the most important monument in Osaka. 


ME: How many motos were there and how long was each moto? 

TS: Really good format I think. 3 heats with 8 min + 1 lap for each one. Good battles, short and explosive heats – which is what  the fans needed.


ME: That sounds like a pretty quick burst of racing. Was that difficult to adapt to? And how was the bike in terms of the pressure it put on your arms and body? Same as a CR250 or CRF450R?

TS: The bike works really good, but off course you have to adapt to it. In my case it tires me the same as an ‘engine fuel’ bike, it is just as demanding but with less noise! (laughter). 


ME: How did Honda HRC come to select you to compete on the CR Electric Proto?

TS: I had the opportunity before Dakar. The rally project and the electric motorcycle are shared by the vast majority of people, in addition to the Team manager Rubén Faria. This team makes working with them very easy.


ME: Did the FIM get any input from the racers on the track layout? Before or after the event?

TS: Yes, the truth is that the riders, the promoter and the FIM were quite close throughout the weekend. We were able to discuss and ask a few topics, it makes everything easier and is a great help for everyone.


ME: Talk about the Honda CR Electric Proto. How does it compare to your CRF450R MX bike at home in Spain? 

TS: I was surprised because the riding feeling – it’s the same.  When you get on it you realize that it is a real motocross bike. With the electronic settings you can do everything and adapt the bike to your riding style. Of course, I have spent little time on it and there are differences, but I was very surprised by this super young bike.


ME: Electric throttle control vs. clutch and throttle. Is that at all tough to get used to?

TS: I am a rider who doesn't use it much because I like to use high gears. But at the same time I always have that point where you use it to find traction and take the bike in the direction you want. That's why I was worried and scared at first, but I was surprised how fast and easy you can ride without the clutch. 


ME: Interesting. Which leads us to the question that you’re absolutely the best suited to answer… Would the CR Electric Proto be able to handle a stage(s) at Dakar?

TS: Well, regarding the battery capacity, we all know the answer. It is a motocross motorcycle and just like the fuel one with a tank of a few liters would not do it, this electric bike could not do so many kilometers either. But regarding riding, absolutely - 100% yes.


ME: What would need to be done to the bike, in your opinion, to make it competitive at Dakar?

TS: First of all, as I said, it is a 100% motocross bike. If an electric Dakar motorcycle were created, with the same kilometers of capacity, I think it would be very competitive, of course. 


ME: We can’t ask for a more expert opinion than that! Looking at the Osaka E-Xplorer layout, what would you think about SuperMoto-style layout? Would the CR Electric Proto be well-suited for a dirt/road application? 

TS: I think absolutely yes. An electric bike, with all the electronic options, being able to choose how you want it to behave at all times, would be very good.


ME: Back to the Osaka contest, did you run into some trouble early? What happened there and how were you able to overcome it to score a podium finish… where were you able to make up the most time? 

TS: I had a crash in the first corner of the first heat. I was last, but I was able to recover and get a second final place in the race. I think we have a good rhythm, as you already know what has affected me the most is the Dakar injury. Being here in less than a month after a serious surgery on the wrist has already been a win for us.


ME: Yes, that’s right. Everyone reading this will be pumped that you’re wrist is doing better. Atop the team podium for you and your Honda HRC teammate, fellow Spaniard Francesca Nocera (who also placed 2nd), took the overall Manufacturer’s Title at Osaka. Honda had to be pretty pumped with that.

TS: Of course. For us it has been an honor to be able to give them victory as a team, and even more so in their country. Hearing their anthem in their own country was exciting for everyone and we are proud to be able to give back that they believed in us.


ME: Right on. That’s awesome. Finally, is your plan to run the entire FIM E-Xplorer series this year?

TS: Yes, for me it is perfect to be able to run two championships (along with WRRC) because none of the races coincide. Of course, it will be a lot more work and we will have to adapt each time to the two very different disciplines but I will do my best.


ME: Cool. When do you return to FIM World Rally Raid Championship competition? 

TS: Right now, I'm in rally mode again. We have the next stop in Portugal for the third race of the World Rally Raid Championships and we have test and work to do.


ME: Right on. Can’t wait to see you back in the WRRC start gate. Thanks again, Tosha. This sounds really cool. Had to be fun to be part of!

TS: Thank you very much for giving strength to my words and helping us make this bigger and bigger. I hope to see you soon again.


For more information on E-Xplorer FIM World Cup, check out their website.