It was almost year ago that we got our first hint that MotoGP was prepping its own documentary series, a-la Formula 1's Drive To Survive. Eleven months later, we now have a trailer and a release date. It’s called MotoGP Unlimited, and it’s coming March 14 to Amazon Prime Video — incidentally three days after the fourth season of Drive To Survive drops.
Yes, the title is terrible and sounds like the moniker for a new streaming platform or subscription service. I have to imagine the short list of names also included MotoGP+ and MotoGP All Access, among other possibilities I came up with in the last 30 seconds.
But the trailer — the trailer looks good. It looks fully like a Drive To Survive clone, which is completely expected, but benefits from the wealth of storylines supplied by last year’s excellent MotoGP season. Initially I was dismayed that it might’ve been better if they’d started a year earlier, because the 2020 title fight was a bit closer and less predictable. But then we would have missed out on the complete implosion of Maverick Viñales’ Yamaha career, Marc Marquez’s struggles to return to the track and Valentino Rossi’s retirement, among other things.
Personally I’m also ready for a bit of a palette cleanser from F1 — or, rather, the F1 discourse. While I’m excited for the coming season and fully believe it has potential to be a fantastic one given the rules change, I have zero desire to relieve Abu Dhabi, or really any of the Max Verstappen/Lewis Hamilton rivalry. If I never hear Michael Masi’s name again — which might very well happen as the FIA removed him as race director at precisely the same time Ferrari was revealing its car this morning — I’ll be perfectly happy.
A break from the more egregiously manufactured drama and fodder for Twitter toxicity seems nice, and that’s what I’m personally hoping MotoGP Unlimited gives us. While I’m sure it’ll make reaches of its own, as every documentary pitched more for entertainment than fact tends to do, my hunch is that the drama will be more authentic because there’s less of a need to make mountains out of mole hills in MotoGP. The racing is closer with more passing and a greater number of race winners per campaign. The stakes are — on average — higher. (If you do click on that link, know that as bad as the crash looks, no one was seriously injured.)
And let’s be real: The personalities are funnier and seem happier. I mean, this is the sort of thing that can happen when a rider a lot of people love wins a race:
That’s not to say I don’t expect some aspect of the MotoGP campaign not to be embellished in a silly way, like the insinuated but completely nonexistent rivalry between Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo in the second season of Drive To Survive. I’m far from Verstappen’s biggest booster and even I can understand why he chose to avoid Netflix’s interviews last year. Generally though, there should be less to make up in MotoGP, which is a good thing. Plus, if people actually watch MotoGP Unlimited — which they likely won’t barring a last minute name change — they’ll hopefully be motivated to check out what is arguably the most thrilling form of motorsport to watch on a race-to-race basis. It’d probably help if a TV network actually carried MotoGP live here in the States though, so maybe someone should look into that.