Sunday afternoon among racing fans is traditionally dedicated to Formula 1.  It has been the most popular racing event in the United Kingdom for decades but could face a rival in the coming years by way of MotoGP.

MotoGP is motorbike racing’s equivalent.  And with bigger personalities, bigger crashes, and quite frankly, bigger balls than Formula 1, its growing popularity in the UK should be cause for concern for their four-wheeled rivals.

And before we go any further, when talking about UK sports it’s important to get the elephant in the room out of the way first. In terms of the UK’s most popular sport, football – neither Formula 1 or MotoGP will ever come close to touching that.  Their combined viewing figures will never get close.

Football is the nation’s sport and the excitement, competitiveness, money spent betting on Paddy Power and other bookmakers, and simply the number of games compared to racing competitions alone mean football will always be number one in our lifetime… and probably our grandson’s grandsons lifetime too…

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So with that out of the way, back to racing. Whether you’re a MotoGP fan or not you’ll know the name of Valentino Rossi.  And you’ll probably also know he’s the greatest of all time too.  Journalists and commentators have run out of superlatives to describe the 37-year-old Italian.  Rossi is a nine-time champion of the sport and is one you need to watch race before he calls it a day.

The action itself is also better than Formula 1.  The drivers go toe-to-toe round corners with significantly more battles and overtaking than you see in F1.  MotoGP remains fast-paced and taking corners at the right angle plays a significant role in the riders’ speed, which explains why they appear to defy gravity of the tightest corners on the track.  Don’t worry, the riders have specially-designed knee sliders for protection, though there’s nothing to protect them from a fall or crash other than their toughness.

Compare this to racing cars which have four wheels and the better part of a car between two drivers and MotoGP riders have bigger balls.  Similar to Formula 1 is the room for overtaking – about the size of a credit it, which on two wheels, at 200mph, takes some guts.

Top speeds of over 220 mph on two wheels makes MotoGP seriously dangerous.  There are more than 500 crashes a season whilst Formula 1 have reduced their maximum speeds and increased car safety over the past decade or so which has prevented many big moment highlights that we were used to seeing in the 1990s.

One thing that has annoyed F1 fans in recent reasons is the team radio and instructions.  “Hold back”, “don’t overtake your teammate” etc. etc.  There’s none of this in MotoGP and there are no pit stops either.  Forget tactics, the racing is much purer than Formula 1, meaning the riders rely more on skill than strategy.

MotoGP is certainly in its peak right now and we only expect it to create a larger audience from here too.  This comes as Formula 1 ratings are starting to fall as the number of exciting moments per race continue to drop and the more predictable the results are becoming.

Valentino Rossi himself has great competition from Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo which will make for a thrilling 2017 championship.  If there was ever a time to give MotoGP a chance over Formula 1 – now is the time.  And we promise you won’t regret it.

Formula 1 being on both the Channel 4 and Sky Sports is huge for helping grow its fanbase but we think it’s just a matter of time before MotoGP hits the big leagues in the United Kingdom.  With the same promotion we have no doubt it would win a popularity contest hands down but it’s a long way from accomplishing that.