British bike racing fans will be doubly delighted by the announcement today [Thursday] that both ITV and BBC have committed to covering the British Superbike Championship.

ITV's troubled Sport channel will provide the most comprehensive coverage of the series ever, complementing live race day action with a programme detailing the fight for pole position, an hour-long highlights package and a weekly magazine show.

The BBC, meanwhile, will continue to show delayed highlights of every round, as well as interviews and features, on its weekly Grandstand programmes. The first round of this year's championship will be shown on 7 April as part of a 'superbikes special'.

The ITV packages is broken down as follows:

Superbike Superpole
Broadcast on a Saturday, or Sunday for Bank Holiday meetings, this show will contain live coverage of the race for pole position. Superpole will also be repeated for the those fans attending the event;

Live Superbikes
The entire afternoon will be dedicated to superbikes. A team of presenters, studio guests, pit-lane reporters, commentators and co-commentators will deliver top quality race coverage and, for the first time, every corner and straight of the season's 13 rounds will be broadcast in widescreen;

Superbike Highlights
The evening of race day will see an hour-long highlights show focusing on the day's two races. This programme will also be repeated later in the evening for those travelling home from the event;

British Bikes
A 1.5 hour magazine show, featuring the best action from the previous weekend's racing, as well as a preview to the next event and in-depth features, will be broadcast on the Friday night after each race weekend.

"We are delighted to be the home of British Superbikes, and we aim for our extensive live coverage and support programming to capture the enthusiasm of the fans and reflect the excitement of the sport," commented head of ITV Sport Nick Atkins.

While ITV has yet to confirm its presenting team, the BBC has announced an addition to its regular commentary team, in the shape of Craig Doyle.

Doyle replaces Leigh Diffey on the team, and joins the established pairing of Barry Nutley and Steve Parrish behind the microphone. Doyle began his career as a journalist/producer on BBC Suffolk, before getting his television breakthrough on the channel's Tomorrow's World science programme.

He later moved on to the Holiday programme, and has, more recently, been concentrating on sports journalism, covering both the Wimbledon tennis championships and Six Nations rugby for the BBC.

"I've always been interested in sport, and being given the opportunity to work on one of the most exciting British sports for the BBCis fantastic," he admitted, "I can't wait for the first race."

Doyle's cousin, Vincent Fitzsimmons, competes regularly on the Paris-Dakar rally raid.



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