Top 10 most popular MotoGPs

Nearly 2.5 million people attended MotoGPs last year. These were the most popular.

YOU only have to go to a MotoGP once to appreciate the difference between being there and watching it on TV.

Whether you prefer the experience comes down to which element of the racing you enjoy. If you want to see every overtake and keep abreast of the entire field then the telly option certainly has its advantages, but even the most expensive sound system can’t replicate the real-life noise of the real thing. Then there are the smells, the shared experience and the different perception of speed that comes with actually being there – it’s easy to understand why millions go to races every year.

But which race is the most popular? The figures tell the story, not only reflecting which races are most favoured by visitors but, by extension, also showing which countries have the most avid MotoGP fans.

In case you’re wondering, a total of 2,473,624 people attended MotoGP events in 2014, although that figure may be inflated since it – like the rest of these numbers – includes the crowds on Fridays and Saturdays (or, in the case of Assen, Thursday and Friday) as well as race day. This is how the figures break down among the ten most popular races.

10. Sepang, Malaysia: 130,925

Only two MotoGPs outside Europe reach this top 10, and the only eastern one is Sepang in Malaysia. With just under 131,000 attendees over the course of the weekend, it nearly makes it into ninth spot, only to be pipped by Assen.

9. Assen, Netherlands: 131,000

One suspects that the nice, round 131,000 visitors reported for Assen during the 2014 MotoGP weekend has been rounded up or down, and given how close its attendance is to Sepang’s that rounding might have affected its position on this list. Next year it loses its traditional Saturday spot, moving to Sunday instead, and that’s likely to boost its attendance figures significantly.

8. Indianapolis, USA: 132,817

Watching the Indianapolis race on TV you’d be forgiven if you thought it was poorly attended. In reality, that’s because the Indianapolis circuit has permanent seating for an incredible 257,325 people, and gets crowds as big as 400,000 for some events. MotoGP is actually doing pretty well there, it’s just that there’s capacity to cater for twice as many visitors (all on one day) if they decided to come.

7. Silverstone, UK: 138,000

We might not have had a champion since the 1977 but there’s still plenty of appetite for MotoGP in the UK. Silverstone might only be a stop-gap circuit for the British GP – the rights until 2019 are actually held by the still-unbuilt Circuit of Wales – but it’s already confirmed that it’s hosting the race again in 2016.

6. Barcelona-Catalunya, Spain: 163,045

Well, you knew that there would be at least one Spanish MotoGP on this list, didn’t you? With Spaniards holding all three MotoGP titles when the 2014 race came along, it’s no surprise that the crowds flooded to every Spanish race.

5. Le Mans, France: 178,073

Although Le Mans is still synonymous with the 24 hour car race held there, its history in bike racing isn’t to be sniffed at and it certainly draws the crowds. The 2014 attendance figure shows that it was full to bursting on race day (the one-day capacity is just 100,000).

4. Valencia, Spain: 197,000

One of the most modern circuits on the calendar, Valencia’s attendance goes some way to showing why Spain hosts so many MotoGP events. Its one-day capacity allows for as many as 150,000 racegoers to be seated in grandstands, and you’d have struggled to find an empty chair there last year.

3. Sachsenring, Germany: 209,408

Germany's MotoGP attendance is the first on the list to top 200,000, with many of those watchers there on race day to see the bizarre start to the 2014 event, when more than half the field started from the pit lane after swapping bikes to go from wets to slicks at the end of the warm-up lap.

2. Jerez, Spain: 229,416

Yes, we’re back in Spain again, with Jerez proving to be the bike-mad nation’s favourite GP. In 2014, when these figures were recorded, they were no doubt delighted to see that Marc Marquez remained seemingly unbeatable, despite Rossi starting to show the return to form that he’s built on into 2015.

1. Brno, Czech Republic: 240,695

And the most popular MotoGP is… Brno, in the Czech Republic. And it’s understandable, too, thanks to the circuit’s history (although the current 3.3-mile track is dwarfed by its 11-mile predecessor, itself a contraction of a TT-esque 19-mile road circuit used in the 1930s). Despite its popularity in 2014, the Czech GP faced uncertainty this year, since the event isn’t profitable.

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