MotoGP's future electric support class, the 'FIM Enel MotoE World Cup', has been officially unveiled during a ceremony in Rome.

The category will debut in 2019, when a grid of 18 riders will compete on identical motorcycles built by Energica.

The machine currently produces 147hp, has a maximum speed of 250km/h and can do 0-100km/h in 3 seconds.

Further weight loss is planned for the final MotoE race bike, while the battery can be charged from 0 to 85% in under 30-minutes.

Former MotoGP star Loris Capirossi, who is helping with machine development and rode the silent machine on stage at the launch, said:

"It's different, because I ride all my life different types of bike. I started on two-strokes, I jumped to four-stroke and now electric.

"But I really enjoy because I discover something different and the first time I tested the bike I said 'wow, it's nice to ride'. Now we are just at the beginning of the development but we are in the right way to go up."

The Italian added: "The torque is amazing. You can play with the throttle. The power is always there and the sound is - not sound - but something different.

"The first time I rode it on the race track, when I put my knee down I just listened to the sound of the knee [sliding]. It's different. It's the future and believe me it's nice to ride that bike."

Among those also present at the launch were FIM president Vito Ippolito, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and Enel CEO Francesco Starace.

“Dorna, together with the FIM, are delighted to move ahead into the world of electric mobility - an option we consider a parallel path for the future," Ezpeleta said.

"We are very proud to work with such a global, innovative and far-reaching company such as Enel and look forward to the collaboration which also involves IRTA, the MotoGP Independent Teams and the excellent Energica bike. You can be sure that together we can make the Cup a resounding success.”

The seven private MotoGP teams will each enter two MotoE bikes in 2019, with the other four bikes run by Moto2 and Moto3 teams. The identity of any riders are still to be announced.

The races will be held at selected MotoGP rounds and are expected to be around 10-12 laps in length.

The main factor in terms of race distance is the length of the main straight, which is where most battery drainage occurs.

A cut-off tilt-switch is likely to be used in case of any accidental twisting of the throttle by a rider or marshal as they pick up a fallen bike.

It is hoped that the introduction of electric machines will eventually tempt technology manufacturers into the MotoGP paddock, plus sponsors that are currently wary of being associated with what they view as 'loud and dirty' petrol.

As one leading member of the MotoE project told at the recent Sepang MotoGP test:

"The move to electric is going to happen and if we don't do this championship, someone else will.

"Once MotoE is established, and if there is the demand, we can open up the championship to different brands of electric machine.

"Battery manufacturers are  among some of the biggest companies in the world, but not many people know about them. MotoE would be a relatively cheap and easy way for some of them to access a global audience."



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