MotoGP may be planning a future support class for electric bikes, but team bosses doubt they will replace petrol-powered machines in the near future.

At least they hope not.

The representatives of Honda, Ducati, Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM and Aprilia were quick to acknowledge the role electric power will play in other forms of motorcycling.

But, performance aside, the loss of MotoGP's ground-shaking noise would be too much for many of them to bear.

"If there is electric class, it’s okay, but I’m 53 and I would miss the sound of a proper engine. This is my personal opinion," said Livio Suppo, speaking shortly before leaving his post as Repsol Honda team principal.

Ducati MotoGP Project Director Paolo Ciabatti then quipped: "I’m 60, so it’s even worse for me! I need the noise."

"I’m 45 years old and like fuel as much as Paolo and Livio!" added KTM Motorsport Director Pit Beirer. "So I’m happy we arrived in MotoGP now, with the fantastic sound of these engines and I hope we can stay there for a while.

"I don’t see that electric engines can take over the MotoGP main class in the next 15 years, also my personal opinion."

But Beirer does expect electric power to have a bigger impact in other areas, such as his own former sport of motocross, where the silent machines will open up new riding possibilities.

"Electric bike development will go on. There are fantastic projects coming up and fantastic vehicles to use on completely different places than we are used to using motorcycles at the moment.

"We can come closer to cities with electric bike engines. But I just don’t see them ready to take over all our fuel-burning love of motorcycles. Let’s wait for the future."

Continuing the theme of age admission, Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio began by declaring: "I'm not so far from 60!

"I think [electric] is the way the industry is moving," he continued. "We see cars moving in that direction, actually in the last couple of years quite fast. And also the motorcycle is looking at that. So I think it’s normal that Dorna is thinking about this [electric class].

"I don’t know if we will always have, but for many more years we will have the top class like this, maybe [petrol] engines. But in the same time, the electric category will grow more and more. I think it’s correct to experience that field and to start to study that area."

Aprilia Racing Manager Romano Albesiano is also well aware of the importance of electric power to the manufacturers, but warned the only way to approach current MotoGP performance would be to use hybrid technology.

"As you know, Aprilia is part of Piaggio Group and we just presented the electric Vespa. So we spend a lot of resources in this field. But talking about sporting motorcycles, honestly I don’t believe that there will be an electric category with a level of performance that even gets close to what we see now in MotoGP," Albesiano said.

"Maybe hybrid technology could be realistic, as in Formula 1. It would be very clever, but probably very, very expensive. So it’s difficult. It would be an interesting experiment, of course, because the future will be electric somehow.

"But a fully electric sporting motorcycle is going to be very, very difficult with the present level of technology of the batteries."

Last to speak was Yamaha Racing managing director Lin Jarvis.

"I don’t think I really have much more to add, except my age! I’m younger than some and older than others," smiled the Englishman, before highlighting the level of manufacturer backing for the electric Formula E single-seater car championship.

"From Yamaha’s side, I think our industry at the moment is still a little bit behind the car industry. But I think it’s interesting for us to see the number of manufacturers that are switching to Formula E.

"It’s exceeding my expectations, honestly speaking. Because if you look at racing itself, the emotion that you get from noise and raw power - we’re all petrol heads here I think.

"But we have to give credit to the Formula E class, because it is growing and a lot of manufacturers are stopping other sporting disciplines in order to invest in electric.

"I’m sure that in the future in the motorcycle industry, electric vehicles will definitely play a greater and greater role. So, I think it’s absolutely the right time for Dorna to begin, but it will take a long time.

"It will probably never take over the MotoGP class, but it might replace another class."

Like Beirer, Jarvis also sees off-road motorcycles as the obvious target for an electric revolution.

"Definitely in other disciplines - maybe enduro, maybe motocross - where noise is a much more sensitive issue… I think they probably have a big future there."

Do you think the main MotoGP class will - or should - have an electric future? Click Here to discuss…


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Okay Crash, start a poll. Who wants to watch electric bikes? Not me.

Great news

Its coming like it or loathe it. In a few years electric bikes will be as fast if not faster and with a longer  range then refueling currently. As a blessing hopfully no more Harleys without silencers blighting the area with excessive noise

Harleys without silencers?  Really?  I doubt that is the main cause of noise pollution in your local area, with the utmost respect.

I think it'll take more than a few years for electric bikes to be fast enough and competitive enough, plus however long again for this technology to filter down to everyday road use by the general public.

Also, looking at the furore which followed the recent hybrid advances in the F1 paddock, the vast majority of complaints from fans there as I understand it were the changes to the sound, so I suspect die-hard bike racing fans will be expecting some sort of realistic noise to be dialled in, at least at the beginning.

Longer range?  The BMW R1200GS Adventure has a ~340 mile range, that's longer than most battery powered cars, let alone bikes.  Most electric bikes can't even manage 1/4 of that range, the highest range electric bikes can barely manage 100 miles.

There would need to be a significant increase in battery technology to allow a typical motorcycle frame to hold enough batteries to hit 300 miles.

5 years+ would be my guess.

imagine how much the range would be if they cut the engine displacment in half

It’s definitely coming but hopefully not for a good while. Dorna will have a huge job on their hands to ensure a level playing field, as the technology required will take huge amounts of money and r&d. We don’t want a situation like the TT Zero race, where it’s just the two Mugen bikes then the rest trailing behind. 

You do realise that the 3rd & 4th placed bikes were only about a minute behind this year. Exactly the same gap as the Lightweight race in fact.

Waste of time, just like the formula E. 

If you can't do a full race at racing speeds without changing cars what's the point. 

Same with the TT zero, they can only do 1 lap at racing speeds. 

We are light years away from it becoming mainstream. 

Hardly a waste of time, a lap of the TT is thirtyseven miles that's about half a motogp race, they'll be up to speed sooner than you think.