The US will get a new home for MotoGP this season as NBC is now out after four years whose contract has expired at the end of last season and TNT Sports is in with all Saturday Sprint races & Sunday race day live on TruTV’s cable channel, while the rest including the practice, qualifying and the Moto2 & 3 races will be streamed on Max through its B/R Sports add-on package. So it’s been a while since live MotoGP races haven’t been on the air at least on TV except the annual US event & everything else being delayed. Another change we will see is there won’t be any free-to-air presence despite having some delayed races last year unless it’s last minute to someone else for the US event which is unlikely and also a switch of commentary where they will take their British TNT Sports coverage rather than the World Feed & its own studio production.

Other than the UK and Ireland & USA for TNT Sports and even India via Eurosport, another Warner-owned property in New Zealand will also now get to air the races this season where everything will be live online for free on ThreeNow with every race highlights being shown as part as Three’s CRC Motorsports TV line-up on Sunday afternoons. They haven’t said which commentary they will use since Three is part of Warner Bros Discovery that includes TNT Sports, but I guess it will be the world feed in case viewers complain like the Australian audience did when Fox Sports had to change back commentary after the TNT feed didn’t go well at the British Grand Prix race last year. Looks like TNT Sports is going global with MotoGP as long as the UK rights stays for another few years.

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What a finish it has been to the afternoon of MotoGP at Phillip Island when Jorge Martin almost led the entire 27 lap race upfront before his soft rear tire strategy was unfortunately backfired during the last lap, which paved the way for Pramac Racing team-mate Johann Zarco to secure his first win in the top class at age 33 & also his first win in many years since the 2016 Valencian GP over in Moto2. 

Gotta feel sorry for Martin who was way ahead of the field as soon as the race started, but then began to lose ground when it comes to the 2nd half run & he too instead ended up in 5th. This added some setback when it comes to his championship hopes as he sits 22 points behind leader Francesco Bagnaia after he finished 2nd for the main Ducati team.

Another great highlight from the last few laps of the race is the 4-5 way battle upfront where Zarco got around his team-mate on the inside before he blocked Bagnaia at Miller corner in that captured the race winning move en route with a few corners left towards the checked flag. He too has came from a long, long way where he wasn’t happy at KTM back in 2019 to rebuilding his premier class career within the Ducati satellite teams over the last few years & now he will move to the Honda LCR team on a two-year deal next year, which is a great move from him indeed. There will be a bit more MotoGP tomorrow at 1pm when it comes to the 13-lap sprint race that includes the Moto 2 & 3 races beforehand in the morning, as they have swapped out with the main race of this weekend’s Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix schedule due to impending weather.

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Image Reference: Box Repsol via Wikipedia, 16/5/21

Fox Sports/Kayo have retained the MotoGP broadcast rights in Australia for another few seasons during a press release early yesterday, but this time it’s under an exclusive deal through free and paid content.

That marks the end of Network Ten’s relationship with the sport as their Free to Air partner after 24 years when they first acquired the rights from the Nine Network back in 1997 & will still air eight Premier Class events left (Live) on 10Bold until the end of 2021.

Although there is a possibility that Network 10 could still the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix as part of the government’s anti-siponing laws that must be available for Free, but they will need to deal with Fox Sports/Kayo first rather than Dorna Sports, the sports’ commercial rights holder.

As it stands, Network 10 will only have one motorsports product after this year which is the Formula 1 with every round as highlights & one live race at home (not happening this year due to COVID).

Now these rights are also up for renewal at the end of 2022 in conjunction with Fox Sports/Kayo with no comment made at this stage but they have recently changed their sports strategy after the exclusive acquisition of Australian Soccer that will be available on their own Paramount + subscription for the majority as well as a game every week on 10.

So it’s probably unlikely from my assumption that 10 will just keep airing MotoGP as a one-off event at home alongside a shared paid TV partner, the same goes for Nine who launched Stan Sport as their paid OTT service earlier this year which leaves either Seven or SBS as the frontrunners for the annual Australian GP package.

It’s been great seeing Daryl Beattie provide his take on MotoGP for many years after he finished his professional riding career as well as the late Barry Sheene beforehand, plus there’s a couple of hosts to thank ranging from Bill Woods, Greg Rust, Mark Howard & at present until the end of this year both Sam Charlwood & Scott Mackinnon.

We will miss their contribution to MotoGP after the loss of Supercars & RPM at the end of last year with Formula 1 set to follow if not renewed, but there’s a bright future on 10 Sport when it comes to the Melbourne Cup, Soccer & potentially other products that can provide exclusivity on its own paid/free services.

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