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MotoGP launches #StayAtHomeGP virtual racing, Spanish GP postponed

Motor cycling’s MotoGP has announced the launch of a virtual racing competition involving star riders from the series.

The #StayAtHomeGP is the latest initiative by a sports rights-holder seeking to maintain a connection with its audience as its live events schedule continues to be disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Riders including Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Álex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) are among those to have signed up to take part in the inaugural race on Sunday.

The riders will compete in the virtual race on the official MotoGP video game developed by Milestone. Italy’s Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello will play host to the virtual race.

Along with streaming on the motogp.com and esport.motogp.com platforms, the race will also be shown by selected MotoGP broadcast rights-holders and across MotoGP’s social media platforms on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The event, including qualifying, will be broadcast at 3pm (CET) on Sunday.

MotoGP’s commercial rights-holder Dorna Sports also recently made the MotoGP documentaries free to watch in the absence of live sport due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The series is no stranger to the esports space, having launched its MotoGP eSport Championship in 2017.

MotoGP follows similar ventures in the past month by the likes of Formula 1, Nascar and the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup.

The first race of Formula 1’s Esports Virtual Grand Prix series drew a peak live audience of 395,000 concurrent viewers across Facebook, Twitch and YouTube on Sunday. On the same day, Nascar’s inaugural eNascar iRacing Pro Invitational Series race was reportedly watched by 903,000 viewers on cable network FS1, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the highest-ever-rated esports broadcast on linear TV in the US.

The World Rallycross Championship (World RX) also announced its esports initiative today. IMG, the series promoter, struck an agreement with Motorsport Games, the racing game developer and esports specialist, and video game company Codemasters to launch the World RX Esports Invitational Championship.

Spanish GP victim of Covid-19

MotoGP today suffered its latest postponement as the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez was scrapped. The race was due to be held on May 3.

The MotoGP opener in Qatar was cancelled before races in Thailand, USA (Austin, Texas) and Argentina were postponed to later in the year.

MotoGP said: “As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.”