ITV have confirmed that they will no longer be showing MotoGP highlights on ITV4 for the 2017 season, meaning that the championship will no longer be on free-to-air television.
In a statement to the F1 Broadcasting Blog, ITV said: “Unfortunately, ITV4 do not have the rights to the MotoGP this season.” ITV were understood to be paying a small fee to show the MotoGP highlights, so it is possible a rise in asking price from Dorna was simply too much.
However, this does raise the question as to who, if any, will broadcast free to air coverage of MotoGP. The rights to MotoGP were held by the BBC for a decade before BT Sport bought the rights in 2013.
Channel 4 and Channel 5 could be in the running after both broadcasters increased their Motorsport coverage recently. It is fair to say however that no free to air coverage of the championship would be very detrimental to the sport going forward.