Nearly two months after its 2020 racing season was scheduled to begin at Circuit of The Americas in Texas, MotoAmerica is finally set to begin racing this coming weekend at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America. And although there will not be any fans in attendance, the riders and team are happy just for the opportunity to go racing again. The fact that they will do so in front of possibly the largest TV audience the series has ever known will simply be a bonus.
On the surface, MotoAmerica has spent the last eight weeks postponing, cancelling, and rescheduling races all around the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but behind the scenes the series has been working together with Road America and local officials in Wisconsin on a plan to return to racing safely.
That work has paid off in MotoAmerica’s ability to go racing, as scheduled, this weekend at Road America and to do so with an enhanced TV deal with FOX Sports and a new deal with Eurosport that will see MotoAmerica’s races broadcast live to an international audience.
“I think the TV package MotoAmerica has put together for this round is really good,” Cameron Beaubier, Monster Energy Attack Performance Yamaha’s four-time and defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, told Roadracingworld.com Thursday. “We’re on FS1 [FOX Sports 1] right before NASCAR [on Sunday], so I think we have the ability to get some good attention there. And then there’s the Eurosport deal. I remember watching Eurosport when I was a kid racing overseas. It was the only channel I could watch and understand over in Europe. So, I think that’s really cool as well.
“Honestly, I’m just so happy to be back at the racetrack. Obviously, it’s not the best-case scenario without fans here, but Road America and MotoAmerica have done everything they could to get us here to go racing. We’re one of the only motorsports back racing in this country and maybe the whole world, but I’m just happy to be back here with my team.
“It’s going to be a little different in the pits [with the health and safety protocols], but once I put my helmet on and get on track everything should be the same.”
KWS/Inde Motorsports Ranch Ducati rider/team owner Kyle Wyman echoed Beaubier’s enthusiasm for the new TV package, especially the ability for motorsports-starved fans in other parts of the world to watch MotoAmerica via its TV partners and its Live+ streaming service.
“It’s a really big deal,” said Wyman. “I’ve talked to a lot of people at Ducati Corse, and those guys are getting MotoAmerica Live+ so they can watch us. It’s going to be awesome because we’re going to be racing in primetime for those guys. I’m loving it.
“And for Eurosport, I heard that each country that is getting our feed is commentating in their own language. That’s huge. I thought we were just going to copy and paste our feed over there, but they’re going to broadcast it with their own coverage. That’s a big step for MotoAmerica, I think, a really big step. I think it’s great.”
And riders and team leaders are giving credit where the credit is due – MotoAmerica.
“I’ve been really happy that the MotoAmerica management team and ownership team didn’t sit around waiting,” said Chris Ulrich, Vice President of Racing Operations for Team Hammer, which races as M4 ECSTAR Suzuki. “They made something happen. They looked at it and saw an opportunity and they made it happen, which is what racers do. Chuck Aksland [MotoAmerica COO] and Wayne Rainey [MotoAmerica President] are both former racers who know how to make stuff happen, and Terry [Karges, MotoAmerica CMO] and Richard Varner [MotoAmerica CFO] are businessman who know how to make stuff happen.
“It’s positive for us. It’s positive for motorcycle road racing in the United States. We’ll see how the weekend goes. Hopefully, we’ll do a good job.”
Activity at Road America gets underway Friday, May 29 at 8:30 a.m. Central Time with the first Liqui Moly Junior Cup practice.
MotoAmerica Live+ coverage begins at 11:20 a.m. Friday for the opening HONOS Superbike Qualifying Practice and runs through the end of on-track action on Friday. Live+ coverage resumes at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 30 and at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 31.
Both HONOS Superbike races at Road America will be broadcast live in America. Race One will air on FOX Sports 2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, while Race Two will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31.
Both MotoAmerica Supersport races at Road America will be broadcast live on MAVTV. Race One happens at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, and Race Two is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31.
And both Superbike and both Supersport races will be broadcast live to multiple European countries and England via Eurosport.
Finally, Liqui Moly Junior Cup Race Two, which happens at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 31, will be broadcast tape delayed on FOX Sports 2.
Check your local listings for the actual broadcast times.