French MotoGP to be shown live on free-to-air TV in UK for first time since 2013

ITV4 is set to show four and a half hours of LIVE French MotoGP race action in the first free-to-air broadcast for the series since 2013

Jack Miller - Ducati Corse MotoGP

This weekend’s French MotoGP event at Le Mans will be broadcast live on ITV4 it has been revealed, marking the first time since 2013 that the series has received a free-to-air broadcast in eight years.

Though Dorna is yet to confirm this, advance television listings show the French MotoGP will be shown live on ITV4 on Sunday 16 May from 9.45am to 2.10pm, taking in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP races.

MotoGP audiences in the UK have dwindled in recent years ever since the decision to award the television rights to BT Sport, which operates behind a paywall. Prior to that it was available for ‘free’ on the red button service offered by the BBC.

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Shown on the national broadcaster for ten years, MotoGP was averaging around one million viewers per race at the time of the split. Though BT Sport has been coy to release figures of its coverage - and stats are both massaged and warped by the advent of catch up services in recent years - insiders have suggested viewership is less than 20% of the BBC’s.

Though MotoGP as a sport isn’t unique in disappearing behind a paywall in the UK, the sport remains relatively niche when compared to F1, which itself is now exclusively pay-to-view on Sky Sports. Matters haven’t been helped by the fact there is no British representative on the 2021 MotoGP grid, though Sam Lowes is a favourite for the Moto2 title.

The shift to allow ITV - which normally shows delayed highlights - to offer up MotoGP for free is a surprise, not least because it has blocked out four and half hours of the channel to show it. 

That’s not to say it will become a regular fixture as the British Touring Car Championship occupies the slot most Sundays, nor is it a sign that BT Sport is growing weary of its investment having recently announced an extension of rights to take it to the end of 2024. Moreover, those that have paid for said privileges are unlikely to be pleased to see it offered for free on another channel.

However, series bosses will no doubt be very interested in the results if it shows there is significantly more interest in MotoGP to negate those lofty subscriptions...