Surprise British TV audience figures for last weekend have shown that the Misano round of the World Superbike championship beat the opening round of the MotoGP world championship, in terms of outright viewer numbers.

Of all the motorsport events - including World SBK, MotoGP and World Rally - broadcast on Saturday and Sunday, it was live BBC2 coverage of Frankie Chili's shock victory in Sunday's second World Superbike race (between 14:25 and 15:20) which topped the list with 1.686-million viewers.

That was 533,000 more than BBC's live coverage of Valentino Rossi's debut Yamaha victory at the Africa's Grand Prix, also broadcast on BBC2 (between 12:45 and 14:00).

Indeed, the MotoGP race was just fourth on the motorsport list, with a five-minute Saturday preview on BBC1's Grandstand programme receiving more viewers than the race itself, while World Superbike race one (shown immediately after the live MotoGP broadcast on BBC2) was also ahead.

"We are extremely happy to see the championship consistently achieving this level of viewership in the UK market," said Paolo Flammini, CEO of FGSport, the World Superbike Championship rights holders. "We enjoy a very good relationship with the BBC and they always provide an excellent level of programming. I am certain that they too are delighted with the results our championship is providing."

However, apparently not included in the list was the number of British viewers watching rival MotoGP coverage on the digital British Eurosport channel, which broadcast over five hours of live action on race day and can boast the standard setting commentary team of Toby Moody, Julian Ryder and former racer Randy Mamola.

Other possible influences include BBC1 coverage of the London Marathon (from 8:30 to 14:20) and the fact that British Eurosport didn't broadcast any World SBK race action until 19:30 on Sunday evening.

Nevertheless, the Misano World Superbike viewing figures are also slightly higher than those achieved for the same round last year, which were then 1.63-million.

The leading viewing figures can be seen below:

1. World Superbikes BBC2 (Sunday) 14:25-15:20 1.686-million 14.52%*
2. MotoGP BBC1 (Saturday) 13:05-13:10 1.447-million 19%*
3. World SuperbikesBBC2 (Sunday) 14:00-14:25 1.320-million 11.35%*
4. MotoGP BBC2 (Sunday) 12:45-14:00 1.153-million 10.19%*
5. World RallyITV1 (Sunday) 15:00-16:00 0.859-million 6.97%*
6. Speed SundayITV1 (Sunday) 14:00-15:00 0.727-million6.31%*
7. GT on 4 CH4 (Saturday) 7:30-8:00 0.146-million 5.57%*

* Percentage share.

All figures quoted are overnight ratings and have been supplied by the Broadcaster Audience Research Board (BARB).

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