MotoGP: ‘Fire’ won’t affect Estoril TV coverage

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TV coverage of next weekend’s Estoril GP in Portugal is expected to be unaffected after a vital Dorna production truck suffered extensive damage at last weekend’s Spanish GP in Jerez.

The hi-tech Radio Frequency Unit, which controls the frequencies for onboard cameras, the aerial shots from the overhead helicopter and the pitlane cameras, was badly damaged after an incident on Sunday night in the Jerez paddock.

Had the damage been caused at any other time during the weekend, TV viewers would not have had any on board, aerial or pitlane action to watch. The main trackside cameras though would have been unaffected.

A Dorna spokesman told MCN: “It never actually burst into flames as such, but was intense heat build-up.”

The cause of the incident is still under investigation but more than half the contents of the truck were damaged and rendered useless. Insurance assessors are evaluating the damage, with no figure yet released on how much it will cost to replace the equipment.

“It is a very unique truck. Most of the material is supplied by British company Gigawave, the official MotoGP radio frequency supplier and is pretty much one-off spec. They're now working round the clock to replace stuff lost, and to repair things affected by the heat, “said a Dorna spokesman, who assured race fans the incident would not have an impact on coverage of the Estoril race on Aprili 13.

“If this had happened before Sunday’s race there wouldn't have been possibilities of onboards at such short notice. Something could have been done with analogue aerials for the pitlane cameras maybe, though unlikely, but all the digital stuff wouldn't have been possible.

"They are hoping that in Portugal there will be possibilities of some onboards, and certainly cameras in pitlane, which will mean coverage won't be affected at all to the viewer.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt