Scheduling: The 2022 MotoGP and Supercars season openers

The motor racing season continues to roar back into action this weekend, with the return of MotoGP and Supercars action!

For UK fans, both championships air live on BT Sport, however, there are other viewing options available across the board for fans wanting to dip their toes into the action.

MotoGP – the coverage

2022 is BT’s ninth season covering MotoGP, along with feeder series Moto2 and Moto3, with every session airing live on BT Sport 2.

In addition to BT Sport’s pay TV offering, free-to-air highlights will air on Monday evenings on ITV4.

In a new element to the ITV deal that began last season, the broadcaster will also cover two races live. The British MotoGP race will air live on ITV, while ITV4 will cover action from one other round live.

Both BT’s and ITV’s current arrangements with commercial rights holder Dorna run until the end of 2024.

The new season begins in Qatar, which is the earliest for the championship, and its predecessors, since 1964. Back then, the first race took place on 2nd February in America, with Mike Hailwood coming out victorious.

Not only does the championship start earlier, but so does the race, with all sessions two hours earlier than last year for UK fans.

The switch from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) offsets one hour, with the sessions taking place one hour earlier than previously.

ITV4’s highlights package airs later than usual on Monday thanks to FA Cup action.

Alternatively, fans can watch MotoGP via Dorna’s in-house over-the-top platform. Priced at €199.99 across the year, or £167.13 based on current conversion rates, the price gives fans access to all the action live, and access to MotoGP’s rich and ever-expanding archive.

Considering the increase in races this season, the price represents better value for money than in previous years.

MotoGP – the personnel

It is in-house where the biggest changes come for MotoGP, following Steve Day’s decision to step down as lead commentator at the end of 2021.

Day, who succeeded Nick Harris in the role, stepped down after four years as World Feed lead commentator.

Writing on his Instagram at the time, Day said that he had made the “incredibly difficult decision to leave my role in order to spend some more time at home with my family, my friends and to work on some new and exciting projects.”

Replacing Day is Louis Suddaby. Suddaby is already a familiar voice to MotoGP’s fanbase, having been part of their social media presenting and editorial team in recent years.

Suzi Perry continues to lead BT Sport’s MotoGP offering, with Gavin Emmett and Neil Hodgson providing analysis throughout the weekend.

Friday 4th March
08:45 to 16:00 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:50 – Moto3: Practice 1
=> 09:45 – Moto2: Practice 1
=> 10:40 – MotoGP: Practice 1
=> 13:10 – Moto3: Practice 2
=> 14:05 – Moto2: Practice 2
=> 15:00 – MotoGP: Practice 2

Saturday 5th March
08:15 to 11:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:25 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 09:20 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 10:15 – MotoGP: Practice 3
12:00 to 16:15 – Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 12:30 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 13:25 – Moto2: Qualifying
=> 14:20 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 15:00 – MotoGP: Qualifying

Sunday 6th March
08:30 to 09:45 – Asia Talent Cup (BT Sport 2)
10:00 to 17:00 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 10:00 – Warm Ups
=> 11:15 – Moto3: Race
=> 13:00 – Moto2: Race
=> 14:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 16:00 – Chequered Flag

Monday 7th March
21:45 to 22:45 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2022 Qatar MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Monday 28th February and are subject to change.

Supercars returns

Down under in Australia, the Supercars series gets back underway with the Sydney SuperNight event!

Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen is looking to successfully defend his championship after winning his second title last year.

While BT Sport airs every race live for UK based readers, fans wanting to get closer to the action can do by subscribing to the SuperView service. New for 2022, fans can also access SuperView via YouTube.

The service, which costs £38.14 across the year based on current conversion rates, gives fans access to every race, including feeder series, as well as on-demand replays of qualifying and the race itself.

Like MotoGP, Supercars has their own in-house broadcast team, which international broadcasters use.

> Full details: the 2022 Supercars broadcasting line-up

Neil Crompton and five-time champion Mark Skaife lead the commentary line-up, supported by an expert team including three-time champion Craig Lowndes and Triple Eight endurance co-driver Garth Tander.

Friday 4th March
02:00 to 08:00 – Practice
=> 04:15 – Practice 1
=> 07:10 – Practice 2

Saturday 5th March
01:15 to 10:45 – Race 1
=> 03:45 – Qualifying, Race 1
=> 05:30 – Top 10 Shootout, Race 1
=> 08:10 – Race 1
=> Race 1 airs live on BT Sport Extra 1 from 08:00 to 10:45

Sunday 6th March
21:00 (Saturday) to 07:00 – Race 2
=> 23:50 (Saturday) – Qualifying, Race 2
=> 01:05 – Top 10 Shootout, Race 2
=> 03:30 – Race 2
=> Race 2 airs live on BT Sport/ESPN from 03:30 to 06:00

Full scheduling details for the 2022 Sydney SuperNight event. Scheduling details correct as of Tuesday 1st March and are subject to change.

If scheduling details change, this article will be updated.

Additional Supercars details provided by Joshua Kerr.

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Scheduling: The 2022 Rally Monte Carlo

A new era begins for the World Rally Championship this weekend, as the championship moves to hybrid-power cars for the first time, under the Rally1 banner.

Sebastien Ogier fended off competition from Elfyn Evans to win his eighth championship last year.

While Ogier will be part of the Monte Carlo season opener, Ogier is not competing in a full season, meaning it is all to play for in the hybrid era.

WRC’s over-the-top platform All Live returns for its fifth season, allowing fans to see all the rallying action live.

New for 2022, the platform also allows fans to watch its European companion, the European Rally Championship live, for £99.99 across the whole year.

As usual, the All Live offering, including studio analysis and service park coverage, will air across BT Sport’s platforms, including their Red Button service and online platforms.

Free-to-air highlights will continue to air on ITV4 in the week following each event.

The usual broadcast team returns to cover the action, with Becs Williams leading the commentary line-up for All Live viewers throughout the event, alongside the likes of Julian Porter, Molly Pettit, and Kevin Piper.

Thursday 20th January
08:30 to 09:30 – Shakedown (BT Sport Extra 1)
17:30 to 18:30 – Pre-Show and Ceremonial Start (BT Sport Extra 1)
19:00 to 21:30 – Stages 1 and 2 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 19:00 – Stage 1 (also on BT Sport 2)
=> 20:30 – Stage 2

Friday 21st January
06:00 to 18:30 – Stages 3 to 8 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 08:14 – Stage 3
=> 09:17 – Stage 4
=> 10:35 – Stage 5
=> 13:16 – Stage 6
=> 14:16 – Stage 7
=> 15:37 – Stage 8
23:15 to 23:45 – Day 1 Highlights (BT Sport 2)

Saturday 22nd January
04:45 to 19:00 – Stages 9 to 13 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 07:15 – Stage 9
=> 09:00 – Stage 10
=> 10:15 – Stage 11
=> 13:00 – Stage 12
=> 14:15 – Stage 13
01:00 to 01:30 – Day 2 Highlights (BT Sport 1)

Sunday 23rd January
05:30 to 12:45 – Stages 14 to 17 (BT Sport Extra 1)
=> 07:45 – Stage 14
=> 09:00 – Stage 15 (also on BT Sport 2)
=> 10:00 – Stage 16
=> 11:00 – Stage 17 (also on BT Sport 2)
02:00 to 02:30 – Day 3 Highlights (BT Sport 3)

Wednesday 26th January
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2022 Rally Monte Carlo. Scheduling details correct as of Wednesday 19th January and are subject to change.

If scheduling details do change, this article will be updated.

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ITV’s F1 archive to be activated in deal with Racing Past Media

ITV’s Formula 1 archive is to be activated over the next three years following a research deal reached between the broadcaster and Racing Past Media, led by presenter Steve Rider.

The archive being explored covers live coverage of F1 races from the 1960s and 1970s, including coverage of the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix, as well as ITV’s coverage of over 50 races via the European Broadcasting Union.

RPM says that the agreement “will help organise and activate a significant volume of material held by ITV from the first 30 years of the Formula One World Championship.” The agreement does not cover ITV’s later F1 coverage from 1997 to 2008.

In their press release, RPM says that “the ambition of the project to make this exciting content available to a much wider audience.”

Although the release does not list any outlets, the deal will open the door for the ITV archive to be made available to stakeholders, such as Formula 1 themselves for usage on their over-the-top platform, or Sky Sports F1 more easily than what it currently is.

Joining Rider at RPM is Robert Foster, who spent 25 years in production, rights and archive management at the BBC before becoming vice-president at the European Broadcasting Union.

Steve Rider said “It is not just the race coverage but the documentary and feature material being unearthed that is so exciting.”

“This is the first step in a project that, along with the co-operation of other archives and rights holders, will help provide a complete and accessible archive of the formative years of the Formula One World Championship.”

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Scheduling: The 2021 United States Grand Prix

With 6 races to go in the 2021 Formula One season, just 6 points separate Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as the championship returns to Texas for the United States Grand Prix!

For UK viewers, the weekend offering from both Sky Sports and Channel 4 looks a little different to usual – hence why Motorsport Broadcasting has opted to publish a full schedule for the weekend.

F1 – the coverage

Channel 4’s offering is the weakest from a free-to-air broadcaster in decades, partly by choice, and partly inflicted upon them.

With qualifying starting at 21:00 UK time on Saturday, Channel 4 have opted to air qualifying on Sunday morning instead of a late-night Saturday slot, as they did in 2019.

Meanwhile, the race edit begins just after midnight on Sunday, the earliest Channel 4 can contractually air the race.

Channel 4 have trimmed both shows back compared to usual: a one-hour qualifying show airs on Sunday with an 85-minute programme covering the race. Expect limited commercials, and a weekend featuring primarily World Feed content.

The actual race edits should be the same length as usual, except without the usual bells and whistles that production company Whisper usually provide.

Given the closeness of the championship race, one wonders whether Channel 4 should have negotiated with Sky to bring the free-to-air highlights package forward, even by an hour to 23:05.

Doing so would unlikely deplete Sky’s live audience, but boost Channel 4’s figure significantly, resulting in a net gain overall. Thankfully this is not a championship decider, because having the F1 title won at 01:00 on free-to-air television is not in anyone’s interests.

By way of comparison, 30 years ago, the BBC aired a 50-minute highlights package of the US Grand Prix from Phoenix in a late night time slot on BBC Two.

Sky have seemingly reacted to Channel 4’s qualifying conundrum by opting to simulcast their live coverage on their new Sky Showcase channel, enabling more viewers to watch qualifying across Sky, Virgin Media and BT TV.

F1 – the team and W Series

With a reduced offering comes a change in presenter, as Lee McKenzie steps into Steve Jones’s presenting shoes for Channel 4.

Martin Brundle returns to Sky’s coverage after missing both the Russian and Turkish rounds, with Jenson Button also joining the team out in Austin.

For the first time, IndyCar and NASCAR star Danica Patrick joins Sky’s offering. One person not with Sky is Ted Kravitz, Kravitz part of the W Series team during the US Grand Prix weekend.

Live coverage of the W Series airs across More4 and Channel 4, the Saturday race airing on More4 with the season finale airing on Channel 4.

All F1 sessions are available to listen live via BBC’s F1 website

Thursday 21st October
21:00 to 22:00 – The F1 Show (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
22:00 to 22:30 – F1: Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
23:00 to 00:30 – F1: Drivers’ Press Conference (Sky Sports F1)

Friday 22nd October
17:00 to 18:45 – F1: Practice 1 (Sky Sports F1)
20:45 to 22:30 – F1: Practice 2 (Sky Sports F1)

Saturday 23rd October
18:45 to 20:10 – F1: Practice 3 (Sky Sports F1)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 18:55 to 20:05
20:30 to 21:00 – Hamilton vs Verstappen: The Season so Far (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
21:00 to 23:45 – F1: Qualifying (Sky Sports F1, Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Showcase)
=> Sky Showcase until 23:15
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 21:55 to 23:05
23:05 to 00:25 – W Series: Race 1 (More4)

Sunday 24th October
08:00 to 08:30 – W Series: Race 1 Highlights (Channel 4)

08:30 to 09:30 – F1: Qualifying Highlights (Channel 4)
16:30 to 18:00 – W Series: Race 2 (Channel 4)

18:30 to 23:00 – F1: Race
=> 18:30 – Grand Prix Sunday (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:55 – Race (Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports Main Event)
=> also BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra from 19:45 to 22:00
=> 22:00 – Chequered Flag (Sky Sports F1)
00:05 to 01:30 – F1: Race Highlights (Channel 4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 United States Grand Prix. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

Meanwhile, MotoGP heads back to Misano, the Emilia Romagna race filling the void left by the cancellation of the flyaway rounds.

With a 52-point advantage, Fabio Quartararo is odds on favourite to win his first MotoGP World Championship. As always, live coverage of every session airs on BT Sport 2, with highlights airing on ITV4.

Elsewhere in motor racing, the British Touring Car Championship concludes with all the action from Brands Hatch airing live on ITV4.

Friday 22nd October
08:00 to 15:15 – Practice (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP
=> 09:55 – Moto2
=> 12:15 – Moto3
=> 13:10 – MotoGP
=> 14:10 – Moto2

Saturday 23rd October
08:00 to 15:00 – Practice and Qualifying (BT Sport 2)
=> 08:00 – Moto3: Practice 3
=> 08:55 – MotoGP: Practice 3
=> 09:55 – Moto2: Practice 3
=> 11:35 – Moto3: Qualifying
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Practice 4
=> 13:10 – MotoGP: Qualifying
=> 14:10 – Moto2: Qualifying

Sunday 24th October
07:30 to 14:30 – Races (BT Sport 2)
=> 07:30 – Warm Ups
=> 09:15 – Moto3: Race
=> 11:00 – Moto2: Race
=> 12:30 – MotoGP: Race
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

Monday 25th October
20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

Full scheduling details for the 2021 Emilia Romagna MotoGP. Scheduling details correct as of Friday 15th October and are subject to change.

If plans change, this article will be updated.

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Live MotoGP peaks with 472,000 viewers on ITV as broadcaster enters new deal

Live coverage of the British MotoGP round on ITV peaked with fewer than half a million viewers, overnight viewing figures show.

The broadcaster aired the race live from 12:30 to 14:30 on Sunday, providing a bespoke pre- and post-race offering fronted by Matt Roberts.

An average of 277,470 viewers (3.72% audience share) watched the broadcast, according to audience data supplied to this site by Overnights.tv.

A peak of 472,300 viewers (6.17% audience share) were watching at 13:18, as Fabio Quartararo stretched his margin at the front of the field.

Earlier this year, the Le Mans round aired on ITV4, peaking with 425,900 viewers.

2021 marks the first of a four year deal that ITV has with MotoGP’s commercial rights holder Dorna. The deal sees ITV4 airing highlights from every race, with two races each year also airing live and free-to-air across ITV’s portfolio of channels.

BT Sport remains MotoGP’s main rights holder from a UK perspective, the pay-TV broadcaster airing every session live until the end of the 2024 season.

Speaking to Motorsport Broadcasting last weekend, Manel Arroyo, MotoGP’s Chief Commercial Officer, contextualised BT’s relationship within the wider UK ecosystem.

“In the UK, we’re working very hard with Silverstone, and also very important for us is Triumph, our engine supplier for Moto2. And all together [with BT], we are trying to create momentum, to push the popularity of the sport.”

“We have seen the commitment from BT with us all these years and we are happy with that. In this new deal, we’re approaching the free-to-air window in a different way [with ITV].”

“We’re very happy because we are in a fantastic position to achieve new audiences through our broadcast offer, ITV4 with highlights, plus the two GPs live, one in Le Mans and the second one today.”

ITV’s offering struggles to draw in the viewers

Arroyo’s comments to this site make sense: free-to-air coverage on ITV’s main channel should draw a significant audience.

The fact that it did not is perplexing and surprising in equal measure. Including BT Sport will bring the average and peak audiences up, but unlikely to be much higher than the Le Mans audience in May.

Clashing with the F1 build-up on Sky Sports and the Paralympics on Channel 4 likely did not help, however it is clear the audience interest was not there from the get-go.

But, sticking a race on free-to-air television, and then not promoting it is an odd strategy to take.

As some pointed out to this writer over the weekend, the main PR exercise ahead of Silverstone saw Spanish rider Marc Marquez visiting Manchester City’s training ground.

Only one outlet, the Daily Mail picked up, but failed to note that the British MotoGP was airing live on ITV.

COVID restricts what MotoGP can do to promote the series, but not using the British stars, led by Cal Crutchlow and Jake Dixon for Silverstone, was a missed opportunity.

Live coverage of MotoGP on BBC Two back in 2013 regularly averaged one million viewers, which MotoGP needs to be aiming towards for their free-to-air offerings, combined across BT and ITV.

On this occasion at least, MotoGP failed to hit the mark.

The good news though is that MotoGP’s deal with ITV is in place until the end of the 2024 season, giving them more chances moving forward to increase the championship’s reach in the UK.

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