Channel 5 will be the new home of free-to-air MotoGP highlights in 2017 after securing a deal with series promoter Dorna.
Taking over from ITV4, which carried terrestrial coverage of the championship for the last three years, Channel 5 will showcase the best of the action from each round in an hour-long highlights show, which will be shown in a guaranteed prime-time slot on Monday nights following each race weekend.
Highlights of opening round of the new season in Qatar are scheduled for broadcast on Monday, March 27 at 7pm on Channel 5.
Each programme will be produced by North One Television, who are also responsible for BT Sport’s live MotoGP coverage and ITV4’s Isle of Man TT highlights.
The deal boosts Channel 5’s portfolio of motorsport rights, which also include live coverage of the FIA Formula E Championship and World Rally Championship highlights.
It also marks the terrestrial channel’s return to covering MotoGP, having previously broadcast of live coverage of the series in the early 2000s.
Mark Sharman, Channel 5’s executive producer for sport, said: “We are thrilled to bring viewers the very best of MotoGP and add another headline act to our motor racing portfolio with the world’s fastest motorcycle racing Championship.
“It will be a mind-blowing season – one for the books. Complementing our live coverage of Formula E and the World Rally Championship highlights, this further demonstrates our commitment to offer top class sport to our viewers.”
The announcement comes as interest in the UK hits a new peak following Cal Crutchlow’s victories in 2016, when a British rider got back on the top step of the premier class podium for the first time since the legendary Barry Sheene in 1981.
Previous free-to-air rights holders ITV, which screened highlights on ITV4 since 2014, also confirmed it would be dropping its highlights package for the forthcoming season.
Manel Arroyo, Managing Director at Dorna Sports, 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 our British fans. We are looking forward to getting the 2017 FIM MotoGP World Championship underway in a couple of weeks time in Qatar.”
BT Sport will continue to broadcast exclusive live coverage of all MotoGP race weekends, which will be complemented by Channel 5’s newly acquired terrestrial highlights.
The pay-TV broadcaster’s current five-year deal due to run until the end of the 2018 season, but there are rumours that Sky Sports are taking in firm interest in snatching away the rights from their rivals.