Julian Ryder to bow out of MotoGP commentary role following 2017 season

Julian Ryder is to retire from his MotoGP broadcasting duties at the end of the 2017 season, this site can confirm. It means that his commentary alongside Keith Huewen for BT Sport in Valencia, will be his last in MotoGP, for now at least.

Ryder follows MotoGP World Feed lead commentator Nick Harris in retiring, Harris also bowing out this weekend. BT nor Ryder have yet to comment, but I have been able to independently verify the news with multiple sources, whilst stars from the paddock fraternity have noted it on social media.

Involved in motor cycle racing for over 30 years, Ryder started off as a journalist before moving into the television space with Eurosport in the late 1980s. Ryder’s first major stint was with Sky Sports, working alongside the likes of Huewen and Martin Turner (more recently Sky’s Head of Formula 1) on their World Superbikes coverage.

Into the new millennium, Ryder moved to Eurosport, covering MotoGP with Toby Moody and Randy Mamola, forming a partnership that became universally liked by viewers from the beginning until Eurosport’s coverage ended in 2013. Ryder made the switch with MotoGP to BT Sport, reforming his partnership with Huewen, lasting for four seasons.

BT Sport’s presentation line-up has changed various times since their coverage started in 2014, with Melanie Sykes, Abi Griffiths, and Iwan Thomas coming and going at various stages. Ryder’s departure appears to be his decision as opposed to a BT influenced move. It is fair to say that BT will lose his vast array of knowledge and expertise spanning the three classes on the MotoGP programme, which will be incredibly difficult to replace.

> Interested in how motorcycle television broadcasting works? Head over here and here for a behind the scenes look…

The problem for all motor sport series, especially MotoGP and Formula 1, is that as the number of races increases, so does the demand and strain on all involved with the championship, including broadcasters’ and journalists. The more races you add to the calendar in fly-away locations, the less desire there is to continue said travel.

If broadcasters want to retain their best talent, both in front and behind the camera, they need to strongly consider rotating their talent better, including commentary or, as an alternative, to call some of the fly-away races from London. For next season, I would expect Neil Hodgson and Colin Edwards to be the prime candidates to fill Ryder’s void, in what could be BT Sport’s fourth and last season covering the sport.

Either way, the 2017 Valencia MotoGP round marks the end of an era, with two legendary commentators heading to pastures new outside of the MotoGP paddock.

Update on November 10th – Speaking at the start of BT Sport’s coverage of the first MotoGP practice session on Friday morning, Ryder said, “My name is Julian Ryder, I’m here for the last weekend of my MotoGP career.” Ryder also explained his reasoning at the start of the broadcast. “I decided that I can’t deal with the travel anymore, I’ve got other jobs I want to do, so I’m quietly out the door on Sunday.”

Speaking to Keith Huewen, Ryder said that “it has been the pleasure of my professional life to commentate with you. It has always been fun, as it should be!”

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Scheduling: The 2017 Valencian MotoGP / Brazilian Grand Prix

Two riders. One championship. Marc Marquez. Andrea Dovizioso. One of them will become 2017 MotoGP World Champion in Valencia.

As always, the MotoGP weekend will air exclusively live on BT Sport, with highlights in a Monday evening time slot on Channel 5. Suzi Perry is back fronting BT Sport’s coverage alongside the likes of Gavin Emmett and Neil Hodgson; Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder will be on commentary.

The race is significant from a broadcasting perspective as it will mark Nick Harris’ last race commentating on Dorna’s MotoGP World Feed, having been involved in the motoring world for 36 years! His successor from 2018 onwards has yet to be announced.

Elsewhere, the Formula 1 season is not quite over, with the penultimate round of the championship in Brazil airing exclusively live on Sky Sports F1. Following Channel 4’s highlights programme is 1: Life on the Limit, which follows Formula 1’s pursuit for safety over the years. It is the first time that the film has aired on Channel 4, with various airings on ITV4 in the past year and a half.

Due to international football, the BBC’s coverage from Brazil is on Radio 5 Live Sports Extra for the complete weekend.

MotoGP – Valencia (BT Sport 2)
10/11 – 08:00 to 15:00
=> 08:00 – Practice 1
=> 10:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 12:00 – Practice 2
11/11 – 08:00 to 15:15
=> 08:00 – Practice 3
=> 11:00 – Qualifying
12/11 – 07:30 to 09:15 – Warm Up
12/11 – 09:30 to 15:00
=> 09:30 – Moto3 race
=> 11:15 – Moto2 race
=> 12:45 – MotoGP race
=> 14:00 – Chequered Flag

MotoGP – Valencia (Channel 5)
13/11 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

Channel 4 F1
11/11 – 19:30 to 21:00 – Qualifying Highlights
12/11 – 22:30 to 00:45 – Race Highlights
12/11 – 00:45 to 02:45 – FILM: 1: Life on the Limit

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
10/11 – 11:45 to 14:00 – Practice 1
10/11 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 2 (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
11/11 – 12:45 to 14:15 – Practice 3
11/11 – 15:00 to 17:40 – Qualifying
12/11 – 14:30 to 19:15 – Race
=> 14:30 – Track Parade
=> 15:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 15:30 – Race
=> 18:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
08/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
09/11 – 13:00 to 14:00 – Driver Press Conference
09/11 – 20:00 to 20:15 – Paddock Uncut
10/11 – 18:00 to 19:00 – Team Press Conference
10/11 – 19:00 to 19:30 – The F1 Show
16/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
10/11 – 11:55 to 13:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
10/11 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11/11 – 12:55 to 14:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11/11 – 15:55 to 17:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12/11 – 15:30 to 18:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)

If anything changes, the schedule will be updated.

Scheduling: The 2017 Mexican Grand Prix

The 2017 Formula One season rolls into Mexico where it looks like, barring any reliability trouble, Lewis Hamilton will become a four-time Formula 1 champion.

The race is exclusively live on Sky Sports, the second time that Sky are likely to screen the championship winning race. The first occasion the 2015 US Grand Prix, where Hamilton secured his third championship with three races to spare.

It may be a weekend of championship deciders, with the Australian Grand Prix moving Marc Marquez closer to the MotoGP Riders’ Championship, which he is more than likely to secure in Malaysia.

NOTE: Clocks go back one hour on Sunday 29th October, with the change from British Summer Time to Greenwich Mean Time. The times listed are for BST on Saturday and before; GMT for Sunday and afterwards…

Channel 4 F1
28/10 – 22:00 to 23:40 – Qualifying Highlights
29/10 – 22:30 to 00:45 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
27/10 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
27/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
28/10 – 15:45 to 17:15 – Practice 3
28/10 – 18:00 to 20:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event from 19:00)
29/10 – 17:30 to 22:15 – Race
=> 17:30 – Track Parade
=> 18:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 18:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 21:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
26/10 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Driver Press Conference
26/10 – 20:15 to 20:30 – Paddock Uncut
27/10 – 22:00 to 22:50 – Team Press Conference
27/10 – 22:50 to 23:20 – The F1 Show
01/11 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
26/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
27/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
27/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/10 – 15:55 to 17:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
28/10 – 18:55 to 20:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
29/10 – 18:30 to 21:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Malaysia (BT Sport 2)
27/10 – 02:00 to 09:00
=> 02:00 – Practice 1
=> 04:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 06:00 – Practice 2
28/10 – 02:00 to 09:15
=> 02:00 – Practice 3
=> 05:00 – Qualifying
29/10 – 02:30 (BST) to 02:45 (GMT) – Warm Up
29/10 – 03:30 to 08:15
=> 03:30 – Moto3 race
=> 05:15 – Moto2 race
=> 06:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Malaysia (Channel 5)
30/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights

Euroformula – Barcelona (BT Sport/ESPN)
28/10 – 13:45 to 14:45 – Race 1
29/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Race 2

Formula Renault Eurocup – Barcelona
28/10 – 11:15 to 12:15 – Race 1 (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – 09:15 to 10:30 – Race 2 (BT Sport 2)
29/10 – 14:30 to 16:00 – Race 3 (BT Sport/ESPN)

International GT Open – Barcelona (BT Sport/ESPN)
28/10 – 14:45 to 16:30 – Race 1
29/10 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Race 2

Porsche Supercup – Mexico
28/10 – Race 1
=> 21:05 to 22:00 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 22:45 to 23:15 (Eurosport)
29/10 – Race 2
=> 16:25 to 17:20 (Sky Sports F1)
=> 16:30 to 17:15 (Eurosport 2)

Speedway Grand Prix – Australia (BT Sport 1)
28/10 – 08:45 to 12:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Wales Rally GB
27/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:00 to 00:30 (BT Sport 1)
28/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Live: Gartheiniog II (BT Sport 2)
28/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 23:00 to 23:30 (BT Sport 1)
29/10 – 09:00 to 10:00 – Live: Brenig I (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – Live: Power Stage
=> 12:00 to 13:30 (Channel 5)
=> 12:00 to 13:30 (BT Sport 3)
29/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:15 to 22:45 (BT Sport 3)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
31/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

World Touring Car Championship – Japan (Eurosport 2)
29/10 – 03:45 to 07:15
=> 03:45 – Qualifying
=> 04:30 – MAC3 race
=> 05:00 – Race 1
=> 06:15 – Race 2

As always, the schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Update on October 27th – Due to a tropical storm heading its way, the WTCC action will now all take place on Sunday, with Eurosport 2 on air for three and a half hours.

Scheduling: The 2017 United States Grand Prix

For the first time in a decade, UK viewers will be able to watch the United States Grand Prix live on free-to-air television. The race is the sixth from the Circuit of the Americas and could see Lewis Hamilton clinch his fourth world title.

Channel 4’s live coverage will feature Mark Webber and Eddie Jordan on punditry alongside Steve Jones and David Coulthard. After missing Japan, Lee McKenzie will be back with the team, whilst Rachel Brookes is expected to return to Sky’s F1 team following injury.

On the scheduling front, there is an unusual four-hour gap between the end of practice three and the start of the qualifying. The explanation is that the organisers want to persuade fans to stay for the Justin Timberlake concert following qualifying (yes, really).

Qualifying does not start until 22:00 BST as a result, the latest I believe qualifying has started for viewers in Europe since the 1983 United States Grand Prix West from Long Beach!

On Sunday, to allow for drivers to be introduced individually by legendary announcer Michael Buffer, the pit lane will open 15 minutes earlier. Hopefully the UK broadcasters cover the festivities throughout their race day build-up.

Channel 4 F1
20/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (More4)
20/10 – 19:55 to 21:35 – Practice 2 (More4)
21/10 – 16:55 to 18:30 – Practice 3 (Channel 4)
21/10 – 21:00 to 23:35 – Qualifying (Channel 4)
22/10 – 19:00 to 23:15 – Race (Channel 4)
=> 19:00 – Build–Up
=> 19:35 – Race
=> 22:10 – Reaction

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
20/10 – 15:45 to 18:00 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
20/10 – 19:45 to 22:00 – Practice 2
21/10 – 16:45 to 18:15 – Practice 3
21/10 – 21:00 to 23:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Mix)
22/10 – 18:30 to 23:15 – Race
=> 18:30 – Track Parade
=> 19:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 19:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 22:30 – Paddock Live

Supplementary Programming
18/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
19/10 – 17:00 to 18:00 – Driver Press Conference
19/10 – 20:30 to 20:45 – Paddock Uncut
20/10 – 22:00 to 22:50 – Team Press Conference
20/10 – 22:50 to 23:20 – The F1 Show
25/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
19/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
20/10 – 15:55 to 17:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
21/10 – 21:55 to 23:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
22/10 – 19:00 to 22:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

MotoGP – Australia (BT Sport 2)
20/10 – 00:00 to 07:00
=> 00:00 – Practice 1
=> 02:45 – Reaction and Build-Up
=> 04:00 – Practice 2
21/10 – 00:00 to 07:15
=> 00:00 – Practice 3
=> 03:00 – Qualifying
22/10 – 00:30 to 02:15 – Warm Up
22/10 – 02:30 to 07:15
=> 02:30 – Moto3 race
=> 04:15 – Moto2 race
=> 05:45 – MotoGP race

MotoGP – Australia (Channel 5)
23/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights

European Le Mans Series – Portimao (Motorsport.tv)
22/10 – 12:45 to 17:20 – Race

World Superbikes – Jerez
21/10 – 09:15 to 14:00 – Qualifying and Race 1 (Eurosport 2)
22/10 – 10:00 to 15:00 – Support Races and Race 2 (Eurosport 2)
24/10 – 20:00 to 21:00 – Highlights (ITV4)

As always, the schedule will be updated if anything changes.

Scheduling: The 2017 Japanese Grand Prix

The eyes of the motor sport media will be on two places this weekend: Suzuka and Jerez, both circuits the site of Formula 1 championship deciders of years gone past.

Suzuka plays host to round 16 of the 2017 Formula One season. Whilst we will not see the champion crowned this weekend, the events of Sepang means that Lewis Hamilton now has one hand on his fourth championship. Meanwhile, in Jerez, rising star Charles Leclerc could claim the Formula Two title at some stage during the weekend.

Formula Two and the GP3 Series normally play support to Formula 1. This weekend, Formula Two is the lead category at Jerez, with GP3 Series and the Euroformula Championship (broadcast on BT Sport in the UK) supporting acts. I assume Alex Jacques will be on lead commentary as usual for Formula Two and GP3, but do not expect to see Davide Valsecchi alongside him as he will be with Sky Italia in Suzuka.

Channel 4’s coverage from Suzuka will not feature Lee McKenzie, who travelled back to the UK after the Malaysian Grand Prix.

Channel 4 F1
Sessions
07/10 – 13:00 to 14:30 – Qualifying Highlights
08/10 – 15:00 to 17:15 – Race Highlights

Sky Sports F1
Sessions
06/10 – 01:45 to 03:50 – Practice 1
06/10 – 05:45 to 08:00 – Practice 2 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
07/10 – 03:45 to 05:15 – Practice 3
07/10 – 06:00 to 08:40 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
08/10 – 04:30 to 09:15 – Race
=> 04:30 – Track Parade
=> 05:00 – Pit Lane Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 05:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 08:30 – Paddock Live (also Sky Sports Main Event)

Supplementary Programming
04/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Preview
05/10 – 07:00 to 07:30 – Driver Press Conference
05/10 – 21:15 to 21:30 – Paddock Uncut
06/10 – 08:00 to 08:50 – Team Press Conference
06/10 – 08:50 to 09:20 – The F1 Show
11/10 – 20:30 to 21:00 – F1 Report: Review

BBC Radio F1
04/10 – 21:00 to 22:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)
06/10 – 01:55 to 03:35 – Practice 1 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
06/10 – 05:55 to 07:35 – Practice 2 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/10 – 03:55 to 05:05 – Practice 3 (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
07/10 – 06:55 to 08:05 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
08/10 – 05:30 to 08:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Euroformula – Jerez (BT Sport/ESPN)
07/10 – 11:30 to 12:30 – Race 1
08/10 – 11:30 to 12:30 – Race 2

FIM CEV Repsol – Aragon (BT Sport/ESPN)
08/10 – 09:45 to 14:45 – Races

Formula Two – Jerez (Sky Sports F1)
06/10 – 14:30 to 15:00 – Qualifying
07/10 – 12:55 to 14:25 – Race 1
08/10 – 12:55 to 14:15 – Race 2

GP3 Series – Jerez (Sky Sports F1)
06/10 – 13:00 to 13:30 – Qualifying
07/10 – 09:55 to 10:55 – Race 1
08/10 – 09:55 to 10:45 – Race 2

Speedway Grand Prix – Poland (BT Sport 2)
07/10 – 17:45 to 21:15 – Races

World Rally Championship – Spain
06/10 – Day 1 Highlights
=> 22:00 to 22:30 (BT Sport 1)
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
07/10 – 12:00 to 13:00 – Stage 1 (BT Sport 3)
07/10 – Day 2 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 00:30 to 01:00 (BT Sport 1)
08/10 – 07:30 to 08:30 – Stage 2 (BT Sport 3)
08/10 – 11:00 to 12:30 – Power Stage (BT Sport 1)
08/10 – Day 3 Highlights
=> 22:35 to 23:05 (Motorsport.tv)
=> 01:30 to 02:00 (BT Sport 1)
09/10 – 19:00 to 20:00 – Highlights (Channel 5)

As always, if anything does change, I will update this post.

Update on October 4th – In what can only be described as a fairly major coup, the reigning Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg will be joining the Sky Sports F1 line-up during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. Rosberg will be part of Sky’s output in the UK, Italy and Germany. This weekend, Anthony Davidson is also part of Sky’s line-up, so a really strong presentation team overall.

Update on October 5th – Further great news is that Louise Goodman is Lee McKenzie’s super sub on Channel 4 for this weekend.