by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
GP Week : Issue 57
TV figures show armchair fan MOTOGP’s marvellous 2009 season and the rivalry between Rossi and challenger Lorenzo has given the sport another boost in the TV ratings, according to the latest figures issued by a highly satisfied Dorna. But in spite of the obvious commercial success – a continuing rather than new phenomenon – MotoGP remains sorely in need of meaningful sponsorship. Figures released last week showed that the British GP attracted a record BBC audience, peaking at 2.9-million viewers. An average audience share of 23 percent may have been boosted because the MotoGP race directly followed the F1 race in Hungary. This was a 50 percent increase on the usual BBC MotoGP audience figures. The numbers were similar in Spain, whose national broadcaster TVE mounts an even bigger production than the heavily staffed BBC operation. There the British race attracted a similar audience share as 2.34-million viewers settled down for the race. This was not only more viewers than preceding F1 GP, but also than for the final day of the Tour de France cycle race, won this year by a Spanish rider. In Germany, a year-on-year comparison with the 2008 British GP showed an audience boost from 270,000 to 410,000. The biggest numbers for live viewing have come from Italy, with 4.03-million fans watching Dovizioso win as Rossi crashed out, eclipsed by the 6.97-million who watched Rossi finish third at his home race at Mugello. The strong TV figures are backed also by high crowd numbers – almost 100,000 in Britain in spite of the weather … in sharp contrast to the lack of success in attracting significant sponsors to the sport. “Same for everybody” Race neutralisation defended AGGRIEVED 125 competitors who lost points after neutralisation of the first and much longer race at the rainhit British GP will have to grin and bear it, according to race management. One such was Britain’s Bradley Smith, who qualified on pole, and was lying fourth after 14 of 25 laps when rain hit and the race was red flagged. He led away from the restart for a fivelap sprint, but crashed out on the first lap. “I think that we were competitive all weekend, but 1 unfortunately we don’t have any points to show for it,” Smith wrote on his web-site, blaming the tricky surface for his error. But since the first part of the race was much longer, some felt it should count for at least something, and there were calls for half-points to be awarded for each of the two legs. Out of the question, said race director Paul Butler. The race neutralisation system will stay. And even if it has some flaws, “in the words of the cliché, it’s the same for everybody. “When the original decision was taken, it was well considered, and all arguments were weighed, and we felt that overall the sprint-race decider was the best situation.” It was unfortunate that, for a second time this season, the race had to be red-flagged within one-and-a-half laps of two-thirds distance … enough to declare a result, but “it was freakish,” said Butler. “Quite clearly a five-lap sprint was not ideal. But, to make no bones about it, the most important thing is to get the MotoGP race started on time.” In the bad weather, with further delays possible in the 250 race, five laps was selected “because it is the figure accepted by riders for the MotoGP class.” If a race is neutralised before two-thirds distance, the run-off is usually over the number of laps remaining, with five being the minimum. But half points (awarded for the four-lap race at Qatar) was not an option: “We try and avoid that wherever possible: that’s really a last resort,” he said.