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MotoGP Unlimited Puts The Drive To Survive Format On Two Wheels


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Screenshot: MotoGP Unlimited / Netflix

After the massive success of Formula One: Drive to Survive, just about every motorsport series worth its salt has decided to capitalize on the dramatized docuseries trend — something that MotoGP has done with its new series MotoGP Unlimited. And as someone with only a very cursory knowledge of motorcycle Grand Prix racing, this series was exceptional.

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I want to preface to say that I’d heard horror stories about MotoGP Unlimited. I’d heard that someone along the way decided to dub all foreign-language audio with a sanitized Siri-esque voiceover that totally stripped the emotion away from the series — and that ruined the viewing experience, especially for those watching in the UK and the U.S.

I didn’t have that when I watched the series on Amazon. I didn’t watch the series immediately, so perhaps Amazon had heard enough feedback and decided to provide the non-dubbed version. I don’t know. What I do know is that I didn’t even know there was drama until I checked the responses to the series on Twitter.

Now, onto the basics. MotoGP Unlimited is an eight-part series, with each episode running about 45 minutes. Available on Amazon Prime, you can devour this series in an afternoon. And it honestly seems like the docuseries saw the critiques of DTS and decided to take them in stride.

For example, MotoGP Unlimited takes a fairly chronological approach to its composition, meaning that you watch the season unfold rather than following one person’s storyline per episode. It cuts out the confusing time-jumps that happen in DTS, something that I think a lot of fans will appreciate — I know I did, because it helped me get a better sense of what the 2021 MotoGP season was actually like.

In terms of storylines, there are the big ones. Fabio Quartararo’s championship run takes center stage, surrounded by the progress of 2020 champion Joan Mir and the retirement of Valentino Rossi. We also hear about Marc Marquez’s injury, recovery, and comeback, and we get to see what it’s like for the Espargaro brothers to compete in the same discipline of racing.

As someone who has only sporadically kept up with MotoGP, this series did a lot to convince me that I actually need to start paying more attention to the live events (something I knew I should have been doing anyway after some extremely exciting racing); I imagine it’ll do something similar for people who are total novices to MotoGP.

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I had a few small criticisms — probably fewer than actual fans, who have noticed mismatched footage and other timeline concerns. My first one was the fact that MotoGP Unlimited was released after the start of the 2022 season. DTS usually comes just before the upcoming season of racing, and it makes for a great primer. Longtime fans can recap the previous year’s drama, and new fans will have a reason to tune into the upcoming race to kick off a season and start from square one. Releasing the series after the new season already started doesn’t make a ton of sense to me.

Further, I don’t know that MotoGP Unlimited will have the same impact that DTS did — mostly just because of Amazon Prime. Plenty of people watch movies and TV shows on the streaming service, but from my anecdotal experience, people usually turn to Prime as a last-minute resort if they want to watch something particular. People don’t really use it the same way they use Netflix, where they just scroll around until they find something interesting. I think this series will be something similar, where people who want to watch MotoGP Unlimited will come to the platform to watch MotoGP Unlimited — but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

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Nevertheless, I’m fully stoked on MotoGP Unlimited and the new season of racing — and I can easily see the series becoming that for plenty of other racing fans, too.

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