The world’s most popular motorcycle racing series is adding an all-electric class.
Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, told Motorsport.com that an electric support series featuring up to 18 bikes could start competing as early as 2019.
Plans are under way to have an electric series on the support bill for as many as five MotoGP races in 2019, with four manufacturers having offered to supply the grid of 18 bikes.
The bikes are expected to reach speeds of around 200 km/h (124mph), making them slightly slower than the existing Moto3 bikes, while races are planned to last around 10 laps each.
Electric motorcycles have been around long enough that the MotoGP class won’t be the first time they’ve seen serious competition.
What started in 2010 as a zero-emissions class at the yearly Isle of Man TT motorcycle race is now dominated by electric bikes, and they’re quickly catching up to their gas-powered counterparts.
Meanwhile in Australia the local superbike championship has run an eFXC electric Formula Xtreme class since 2011.
While Formula E relies on carbon-neutral glycerine generators to recharge its cars between sessions, Ezpeleta wants the new MotoGP support series to use solar panels.
“We want the batteries to be recharged from solar panels, not from generators like in other championships,” added Ezpeleta. “This way, we can leave something profitable for the circuits where the series races.”