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2020 in review: a landmark year for MotoGP™ eSport

From Virtual Races to the fourth eSport Championship and more, this season was a virtual milestone for MotoGP™

Tags 2020

2020 has been quite a year. In the world of MotoGP™ eSport it’s also been a landmark season for Dorna Sports, packed full of new challenges and events that have only added to what was an already-impressive portfolio of virtual competition – breaking records and garnering recognition across the board. From Virtual Races and Grands Prix to the fourth eSport Championship, the new WINDTRE Rising Stars series and more, this season was a landmark one.

The year began with racing on hold as the Covid-19 pandemic obliged calendar changes, but the competition continued – virtually. For the first time ever, MotoGP™ riders competed against each other online in 10 Virtual Races, including two full Grands Prix featuring MotoGP™, Moto2™, Moto3™ and MotoE™. 64 riders from 48 different teams took part, including some of the sport’s biggest names such as Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), then-reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), MotoGP™ Legend Jorge Lorenzo and newly-crowned 2020 MotoGP™ World Champion Joan Mir.

The Red Bull Virtual Grand Prix of Spain was also more than a Virtual Grand Prix, as the riders did battle in aid of the official charity of MotoGP™, Two Wheels for Life, with the goal of raising funds for their vital work fighting coronavirus on two wheels – ensuring the delivery of test results, education and equipment to hard to reach communities to prevent the spread of Covid-19.  

Over the 10 races, the events accrued 12 million live video views and 52 million views overall, as well as 10 million interactions and 331 million impressions. 40 broadcasters showed the Virtual Races and Grands Prix across the world.

The MotoGP™ eSport Championship, meanwhile, also had another incredible year. The series was shortlisted in the 2020 Sports Technology Awards in the ‘Use of Esports by a Sports Brand’ category, which saw Dorna Sports acknowledged for the MotoGP™ eSport Championship up against F1 and NBA. This prestigious award received entries from 45 sports and over 30 countries.

The official MotoGP™20 console video game – produced by long-standing partner and videogame developer Milestone – provided the backbone of the Championship once again, and competition began in March in the Pro Draft. The fastest in this time-attack stage were then put through to the Global Series, representing MotoGP™ Teams in a stunning eight-race Championship to decide the crown. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s eSport rider Williams_Adrian came out on top to claim his first title, becoming the third different MotoGP™ eSport Champion in four years.

Along with the honour of victory, there were also some incredible prizes up for grabs: first place took home a BMW M235i xDrive Gran Coupé, second an Aprilia RS 125 GP replica and third a new Lenovo Legion Y740 Laptop – and there was chance to win Red Bull Experiences too, as well as a pole position prize from partner TISSOT.

The fourth year of Dorna Sports’ flagship virtual Championship was sadly not disputed live on-site in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it still proved another season of awesome competition. Since inception in 2017, the Championship has celebrated  seven onsite events, four virtual events, two Pro Drafts and an incredible 23 online challenges, enjoying coverage from 16 broadcast partners, as well as accruing more than 80 million video views, 338 million impressions and engagement of 10.5 million.

There was also an addition for 2020: the all-new WINDTRE Rising Stars Series, a new eSport talent promotion initiative aimed at finding and fostering fresh eSport talent around the world. The series mirrors Road to MotoGP™ initiatives out on track such as the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup and more, directed at promoting young talent towards the pinnacle of the sport.

The programme is the first of its kind in MotoGP™ eSport and comprised four Online Challenges separated into three World Regions (the Americas, Europe and Africa, Asia and Oceania), as well as three Online Regional Finals; one per region. The winners of each regional final are rewarded with a guaranteed place in the 2021 MotoGP™ eSport Championship Pro Draft.

Finally, there was one more incredible eSport competition for fans to win: a first ever FIM Enel MotoE™ eSport Challenge. Disputed in November, gamers competed to set the fastest time possible at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia with MotoE™ World Cup winner Matteo Ferrari and his Energica Ego Corsa machine, with the fastest on each platform rewarded with tickets to a 2021 Grand Prix of their choice*.

In 2021, there is more on the horizon too as the MotoGP™ eSport Indonesian Series begins. Hosted by partner MP1, the series is designed as the perfect platform into the WINDTRE Rising Stars Series, giving the most successful gamer an opportunity to compete in the MotoGP™ eSport Global Series next year.

10 Virtual Races including two Virtual Grands Prix, the 2020 MotoGP™ eSport Championship, the WINDTRE Rising Stars series and more – 2020 truly was a landmark season for Dorna Sports’ virtual portfolio.

Make sure to come back for more in 2021 as competition continues!

*pending restrictions obliged by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic