BT Sport have unveiled their MotoGP line-up that will cover the series for them throughout the 2014 season, in what it says will be the most extensive coverage of the sport that has ever been seen in the UK.
Melanie Sykes will present the coverage, with former World Superbike champions Neil Hodgson and James Toseland alongside her. Whilst Sykes comes to BT Sport having presented no live sports coverage, she has presented numerous live programmes on ITV such as Today with Des and Mel and Let’s do Lunch with Gino and Mel. The coverage will be presented on-site at each event, with additional analysis from BT Sport’s studios at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. Keith Huewen will be the lead commentator in a three man booth alongside Julian Ryder, the partnership reuniting after a fifteen year separation. Motorcycle News chief grand prix correspondent Matt Birt is the third man in that booth, whilst Gavin Emmett, who can also be heard on MotoGP’s World Feed commentating, will be BT Sport’s reporter.
Coverage will formally launch with a preview show on Tuesday 18th March as the channel reflects on pre-season testing and looks to the season ahead. From that point forward, BT Sport will broadcast an hour long programme on Tuesday nights at 20:00. Entitled MotoGP Tonight, it will be presented by Craig Doyle and former Olympian and biker, Iwan Thomas, with guests each week. Each weekend coverage will begin on Friday mornings with five hours of coverage each day. The exception to this is Qatar, where coverage will begin on Thursday 20th March at 15:00, from the first minute of Moto3 practice 1 to ten minutes after Moto2 practice 2 has concluded. Aside from the details announced today, it was revealed yesterday that BT have created a MotoGP film, to air in the build-up to Qatar.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “It’s really exciting to be launching such a thrilling new sport on BT Sport, with a tremendous new team and what we believe will be a fresh approach to MotoGP and some fantastic new shows. MotoGP is the top, two-wheeled motorsport. It’s massive in the UK and we’re heading into it at full throttle and following every second of the action. We’re sure we’ll appeal to committed fans, but we also think we will win over and welcome new fans to the sport.”
Manel Arroyo, managing director, Dorna Sports, said: “I’m pleased that MotoGP is part of such a huge and exciting project as BT Sport. I’m sure that BT Sport will provide the in-depth coverage that MotoGP deserves so that British fans can follow the fortunes of British riders in the Championship.” As expected, there will be interactive options via the BT Sport app with eight views in total: the main coverage; helicopter; live timing; a tracking screen and 4 x onboard. Full races and highlights will also be available on the app.
The channel’s deal with Dorna Sports covers the period from 2014 through to the end of 2018 and will be produced by North One Television. As it stands, MotoGP will not have any terrestrial television coverage from this point going forward.