Huge television audiences follow spectacular MotoGP start
The live TV coverage for the first round of the MotoGP World Championship, with spectacular races in all three Grand Prix categories and an historic victory for Valentino Rossi, had a huge following by audiences worldwide.
Unsurprisingly, the figures for the broadcast of Italia 1 in Italy were outstanding. The fight until the final corner in the MotoGP race between current World Champion Rossi, on a Yamaha, and his compatriot Max Biaggi, on a Honda, was watched by 7,633,000 viewers, with a 35.5% market share. Over almost four hours of broadcast, more than 11 million Italians enjoyed the exciting event in Welkom, South Africa. This result beat the previous record for Italia 1, established for their home race at Mugello in 2003.
Spain's TVE-1 also had a big audience for Sunday's betandwin.com Africa's Grand Prix. The MotoGP race, which saw Spaniard Sete Gibernau take third position, recorded 2.7 million viewers whilst all three races, each featuring leading Spanish riders, were very close to a 30% market share mark.
Other countries featuring a growing interest in MotoGP once again reported encouraging results. BBC's broadcast in Great Britain was watched by 1.2 million fans and RTL's programme in Germany had over 1 million spectators, whilst other networks such as Club RTL (Belgium) and ATV+ (Austria) scored results well over the networks' expected standards.
In Finland, Nelonen showed live coverage of the 125cc race, with a 24% market share, and in the Czech Republic, Prima TV had 23.5% of the nation's television viewers tuned in to MotoGP. In Switzerland, the Italian language broadcaster TSI had a 26.4% market share for the MotoGP race, and the German speaking channel SF DRS scored 18.6% for the 125cc race.
Following this remarkable start to the season, optimism is high ahead of the second round of the MotoGP World Championship which will take place in Jerez, Spain, on May 2nd.