Spain's Jorge Lorenzo finishes the MotoGP race in Qatar.
As the 2013 MotoGP World Championship kicked off Sunday in Qatar, audiences in numerous key markets reached some noteworthy numbers, according to MotoGP. Spanish TV saw its Tele5 broadcast "increase by a whopping 44.6% over last year’s audience for the race with 4.5 million viewers, with a peak of 5.2 million, taking a 25.2% of the country’s audience share." Meanwhile, Italian TV, bolstered by the highly anticipated return of Valentino Rossi, "saw audiences go up to 5.28 million – peaking up to 6.63 million -- for the race under the floodlights with a 17.5% broadcast share." Viewership also saw "a humungous increase in British audiences, as nearly 75% more people tuned in over the previous year, with 1.7 million viewers witnessing the action, during which figures peaked at 2 million." Germany "turned up in force once again," with 410,000 MotoGP fans. In addition to the regular TV broadcast, the MotoGP season-opener "was also available on over 40 planes featuring Sport24, the 24/7 live sports channel produced and distributed by IMG Media exclusively for the in-flight and in-ship markets" (MOTOGP, 4/9