The tense 2009 MotoGP World Championship battle looks to be having a highly positive effect on the sport's viewing figures, with last weekend's British Grand Prix enjoying particularly strong numbers.

Figures provided on behalf of rights holders Dorna Sports indicate that Sunday's MotoGP race at Donington Park saw record BBC audience figures, which peaked at 2.9 million viewers, as the UK's national broadcaster reported an average audience share of 23%.

The BBC's coverage of Andrea Dovizioso's maiden MotoGP win, which also saw a solid performance from home rider James Toseland in sixth place, brought in an average audience of 2.8m - a 50% increase on the BBC's usual MotoGP audience and an increase on the previous best average audience record by a million viewers.

This is particularly impressive given that the event seemed to receive almost no coverage on BBC news or the BBC's mainstream radio stations, while many national newspapers provided only brief mention of the event.

In Spain, national broadcasters TVE saw 2.34 million people tune in for Sunday's race, giving them a 22.9% audience share as MotoGP pulled in more viewers in Spain than the final day of the Tour de France, won this year by Spaniard Alberto Contador, and the Hungarian Formula 1 race.

German broadcaster DSF, meanwhile, enjoyed an audience of 410,000 for the Donington Park contest, a significant increase on the 270,000 viewers who watched last year's British Grand Prix in Germany.

In Italy, live viewing figures for the recent MotoGP races as national hero Valentino Rossi edges ahead in the championship have also been noteworthy.

Dovizioso's superb performance and Rossi's important fifth place finish despite a midrace crash, were watched live by 4.03 million fans on Italia 1 (a 39% audience share), whilst the visits to Mugello for Italy's home race and Rossi's amazing win at Catalunya earlier this year were enjoyed by 6.79 million and 5.98million viewers respectively.


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