MotoGP audience soars as Le Mans race is shown on free-to-view TV

MotoGP

ITV4 free-to-air coverage of the MotoGP French Grand Prix attracted a peak audience of 425,900 viewers

Jack Miller drinks champagne from his shoe at the 2021 MotoGP French GP

More than 400,000 watched Jack Miller race to victory at Le Mans

Photo Studio Milagro / DPPI

More than 400,000 viewers watched the first MotoGP race shown on British free-to-air TV in seven years.

Jack Miller’s victory in the dramatic French Grand Prix attracted a peak of 425,900 viewers on ITV4, according to BARB figures from Overnights.tv.

It’s the first time that the live broadcast has been shown on a terrestrial channel since BT Sport took over the broadcast rights from the BBC in 2014.

The Moto2 and Moto3 races were also shown during the 9.45am-2.10pm broadcast, which attracted an average 191,200 viewers. The audience peaked at 1.38pm with five laps to go in the MotoGP finale.

The British Grand Prix in August will also be shown live — on the main ITV channel — in an attempt by MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports to attract new fans to subscribe to a full season’s-worth of action.

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BT Sport’s coverage typically attracts between 150,000 and 250,000 viewers per race, according to an analysis of BARB figures by the Motorsport Broadcasting site.

The BBC’s live coverage brought in more than a million viewers per race, and ITV will be hoping to get closer to that number with the Silverstone MotoGP round on its main channel.

Dorna has increased its efforts to promote MotoGP this year, with a behind-the-scenes documentary being filmed this season. It’s expected to be similar to F1’s Drive to Survive series that has been credited for widening the appeal of the series to a younger audience.

Formula 1, which is only available live in Britain on Sky (with the exception of the British Grand Prix), has faced its own questions of remaining relevant from behind a paywall.