MotoGP commercial rights holder Dorna Sports has struck a deal with Channel 5 to broadcast highlights of the 2017 season on free-to-air television in the UK.
Fans were left in limbo last month when it was announced MotoGP’s previous terrestrial home, ITV4, had opted against renewing its contract to broadcast highlights of the series throughout the season.
Last year proved to be a banner year for British riders in the world championship, with victories coming in all three classes courtesy of John McPhee, Sam Lowes, and most notably Cal Crutchlow, who became the country’s first premier class victor since Barry Sheen in 1981.
This renewed success for Britain in MotoGP has also prompted Dorna to create the British Talent Cup, which from 2018 will aim to nurture and develop the next generation of Britain’s grand prix superstars.
Channel 5 already boast an impressive line-up of motorsport, with the broadcaster covering the Formula E series exclusively live, while also showing highlights of the World Rally Championship on the Monday following each event.
“We are thrilled to bring viewers the very best of MotoGP and add another headline act to out motor racing portfolio with the world’s fastest motorcycle racing championship,” said Channel 5’s Mark Sharman.
“It will be a mind-blowing season – one for the books. Complementing our live coverage of Formula E and World Rally Championship highlights, this further demonstrates our commitment to offer top class sport to our viewers.
Managing Director at Dorna Sports, Manel Arroyo, added: “With so much emphasis on British talent this year, we are delighted that highlights of every MotoGP round this coming season will be available for British audiences on Channel 5.
“Our British riders in every category are in top form so it should be an exciting season for out British fans. We are looking forward to getting the 2017 FIM MotoGP World Championship underway in a couple of weeks’ time in Qatar.”
No details on how Channel 5 will shape its highlights package have been released, only that a prime-time slot is ‘assured’ on a Monday evening and that coverage is by North One Television and the channel itself.
Previously, ITV showed a one-hour programme created by BT Sports, MotoGP’s exclusive live home in the UK, and used their commentary team of Julian Ryder and Keith Huewan. The premier class race took priority, with Moto2 and Moto3 reduced to brief mentions at the end of the show.
The 2017 MotoGP World Championship kicks off on March 23-26 in Qatar, with Channel 5’s first show going out on March 27.