Dorna Starting An Electric Motorcycle Race Series

03/13/2017 @ 12:26 pm, by Jensen Beeler21 COMMENTS

Dorna Sports, the media rights holder to the MotoGP and World Superbike Championships, wants to start its own race series for electric motorcycles, so said Carmelo Ezpeleta while talking to Spain’s respected AS publication.

Hoping to begin racing by 2019, Dorna’s electric motorcycle racing series would pick up where the now defunct FIM e-Power Championship left off, though it would come with some major differences from its predecessor.

As such, Ezpeleta outlined a plan that would see a five-round format, which piggybacks off existing rounds on the Grand Prix calendar, and operates as a support class to the usual Grand Prix weekend.

The electric race bikes would be a single-make (supposedly two brands have already expressed interest in providing the race bikes), and Dorna Sports would look to existing teams and riders in the GP paddock to fill the entries.

It is not clear who would be providing the race bikes, though we would expect the expressed interest expressed comes from established OEMs already in the GP paddock, so don’t expect to see bikes like the MotoCzysz E1pc above filling the grid.

Ezpeleta also made it clear that the series would be absolutely carbon neutral, with the host venues being required to install green energy power stations, fueled by wind turbines or solar panels.

The Spanish businessman also revealed how he sees the race format working, where 14 MotoGP riders and teams would fill most of the grid, alongside the four fastest Moto2 riders. The hope is for the bikes to have a 10-lap racing format, with speeds up to 125 mph.

The move is an interesting one, especially as electric motorcycle racing seemed all but dead – after the implosion of the ePower and TTXXGP Championships several years ago.

Currently, the best venue to showcase electric motorcycles is the Isle of Man TT, which is dominated by the entries from Team Mugen. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb seems to be a budding venue for electric motorcycles as well, though the iconic American race’s future seems always to be in doubt.

Having an established motorsports organizer like Dorna taking a measured approach to electric motorcycle racing seems to be the best bet to see this discipline final take hold in the industry. We’ll be curious to see how this plan develops over the next two years.

Source: AS; Photos: © 2012 Ryan Phillips / 360° Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • MrDefo

    Oh hey it’s not April Fool’s day! That’s awesome news. I appreciate the desire to be carbon neutral, but maybe get the series going and established before forcing the race tracks to make big infrastructure changes?

  • n/a

    So now they’re killing off four strokes, just like the two strokes.

  • michael uhlarik

    !!

  • madchilli

    It’ll be as boring as hell just like the formula E series with silly rules.

  • Timbo Baggins

    OMG EVERYONE PANNICCCCC

  • Campisi

    Shocking.

  • Jack Meoph

    hahaha They must be thinking of the children.

  • Bruce

    While I am happy to see an electric race series again, electric racing should have loads of ingenuity and innovation. A one-make series negates that and won’t drive to improve the breed. Maybe if it proves to be exciting enough other electric race series will appear and grow the entire sport. Lets hope.

    On another note “carbon neutral” is laughable for anyone who considers what it takes to field a typical moto-gp weekend. Grow the series because electric bikes might just be cool – not because of the typical greenie BS that lacks any scientific credibility.

  • gordon strickland

    You won’t see the E1PC because, well RIP Michael….

  • eMotoRacing is in its 4th year in the USA. 8 universities are planning to field a bike in the Varsity Challenge this July, at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

  • paulus

    Race on Sunday, sell on Monday.
    Is there a pay off for the brands (other than appeasing the greenies)? Unless the brands are ready to release e-bike versions into the market, I can not see why they will risk their talent, spread their resources thinner and participate…. especially if they are not even riding/promoting their own/contracted brand machine.

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    I’m all for it. If there’s one place to push and promote motorcycle design & technology, it’s MotoGP. The IOMTT has already shown you can successfully have an EV race tacked on and MotoGP is certainly capable of doing it, too.

    Considering that quite a lot of the tracks on the calendar already appear to utilise solar power, I can’t see this being too difficult a transition for them. How about giving these bikes some high horsepower and requiring a pit stop to hot swap the battery packs?

  • coreyvwc

    Since Honda is loosing their Moto2 engine contract, I would be stoked to see a whole grid of Mugen (Honda) Shindens whizzing around the track on raceday. Bring it on!

  • KrissrocK

    While I would love to see electric bike, I have a strange feeling Dorna is going to screw this up.
    1. It’ll probably be hard to see. Meaning it won’t be offered with your regular subscription to other races and you may have to pay extra to see it. Or it just won’t be shown via digital media at all, and it will exclusive to those that attend the races in person.
    2. Single bike provider Is boring !! Everyone riding the same bike is as interesting as the failed formula-E…there’s already quite a few electric bike providers out there, let any of them who what to get in, come on in. This is how you grow the industry and get the support of ppl who follow brands instead riders. It won’t matter if my favorite rider is racing in the electric brand-x cup, if i don’t like brand-x.
    3. It would be better if the figure out a way to let them race against gas powered bikes. They already look at WSBK like their red-headed foster child, so why not let the electrics race against them. Instead of aligning this with MotoGP, align it with production street bike these are most likely deriving from, and race it against other production bikes.

  • Barry Rothwell Taylor

    Electric motors are a mature technology and there will be races in the future that are worth seeing but not today . Until they manage to do something miraculous they are hamstrung by the batteries and racing that’s pathetic is less than helpful ie Formula E .
    Expecting pro-riders to risk injury in a novelty race during the race weekend ? that will sit well with their employers … and why would the riders want to bother ? and if you force them how do you make them try ? Stupid , like that BMW Procar M1 series back in the 70’s .

  • jzj

    Jensen, thanks for the picture of the bike of the late great Michael Czysz (and I believe perhaps that’s also Czysz riding?).

    I suggest the rules for a new emotorcycle series should be the following:
    1. Race distance is 10 laps
    2. Motorcycle cannot be powered by fossil-based fuel
    3. Motorcycle must have at least 1 but no more than 2 wheels

    In particular, I would love to see an “anything goes” approach regarding fairings – motorcycles are surprisingly unaerodynamic, and great leaps can be taken in speed and efficiency with radical nose-to-tail fairings. Besides, this would really enable the bikes to be set apart at a glance and would promote interest among the casual fan. (Okay, perhaps there would need to be another rule as to the overall length of the bike, to avoid 20-foot long needles — but then again, who’s to say that wouldn’t be kinda cool?)

  • Dr. Gellar

    From what I have read elsewhere, these machines will more or less be electric Moto3 racers. The plan is to race them in the CEV and CIV in 2018, apparently before racing them as part of MotoGP in 2019 as this article states.

  • That’s me on the bike.

  • jzj

    Ah, well, nice for you. (I should have looked closer.)

  • major tom

    Another single make series? No! And the regular Moto GP grid riders are to risk themselves for what exactly? LOL. I didn’t think this was April 1st already.

  • Spurdog1

    Electric bike racing isn’t dead. With Mugen already capable of a 120mph lap at the TT and lots of rivals nipping at their heals it wont be long before there is good racing out there. A lot of circuits have problems with noise affecting their neighbours so electric track bikes make a lot of sense. I cant see a problem with short races… could make for good racing. If you think these bikes are slow look at John Mcguinness’ Zero TT laps on the tube.