I confess, it’s a relief to discover that I’m not alone in that, when I need to scrub up well for some fancy event I turn to YouTube in search of a simple tutorial on how to tie the knot so I don’t look ridiculous, and I’m admitting it openly here because it’s one of the first details that intrigued me in the new Amazon Exclusive docuseries about the MotoGP™ World Championship MotoGP Unlimited, premiering on the platform this March 14. The series revs up with the 2021 champion, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), deciding which shirt best accessorizes with his tuxedo for the end-of-season gala, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), fighting with the cufflinks of his shirt sleeves; and Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team MotoGP™) following the beginners tutorial step by step on how to tie a semi-decent Oxford knot, with a little help and supervision from his partner, as he navigates choppy waters that are clearly uncharted by him.
And the pattern repeats itself for each rider, the tension mounting as they strive for perfection, elegantly handsome in their tuxedos which they approach with greater anticipation and fear than they’ve ever shown mounted atop the fastest motorcycles in the world. “That’s where you see the authority. Now there’s a world champion,” Quartararo’s friends jeer him on, giving him a hero’s welcome that puts the finishing touch to the sequence.
I also confess, – way too much sincerity from yours truly here – that I didn’t know any of these riders from Adam prior to getting down to work on this series that will surprise many, and actually proves a fascinating approach to the inner-most secrets of a sport and a Championship I knew absolutely nothing about, beyond recognizing the household names like Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda) or the legendary Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT). As such, I became far more enthralled, not so much by the predictable, insofar as what all these racing giants are capable of doing on two wheels, but instead by the infinite, minute details, the no holds barred private access the documentary series provides, as we become privy to an exclusive and point-blank perspective that allows for a better understanding of all those tales of rising above adversity -as well as the frustration and agony-, that surround one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.
The series traces the footsteps of Fabio Quartararo, the iconic Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in his final MotoGP™ season, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia, Johann Zarco (Ducati Pramac Racing), Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), and 2020 champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), along with several team directors. We’re given total access to their lives during the season filled with a veritable tsunami of emotions, moments of pure joy, and also, of sadness… As Álex Rins reveals: “You will rarely hear a rider say he’s sad. For what the others might say, my rivals.”
We see Maverick Viñales shopping in the supermarket, cooking at home, or in the maternity ward at the Teknon Clinic in Barcelona, only hours after his daughter has been born. It’s the intro and letter of introduction to a rider who’s character slowly begins to sour as the episodes go by, due to his continuous differences with the Yamaha technicians and his persistent complaints about the bike not being up to scratch, with the friction coming to a head and exploding in a scene where Viñales directly confronts his team director and, in an outburst of anger, begins over revving the bike clearly trying to blow up the engine, ending with his dismissal from the Yamaha Team. We then see him afterwards, replaying the race on his phone, visibly shaken as he sits in a restaurant dining room somewhere… “I’m so sick and tired after the year I’ve had,” he repeats over and over again before eventually signing for Aprilia.
The docuseries also takes us behind the scenes with Marc Márquez, inside his head as he struggles, uncertain of his fate after that spectacular accident that kept him away from the circuit for nine months, and how those closest to him have been warned that bringing up the topic of fractured bones and how they’re healing is a taboo subject, unless he himself mentions it first. “There are plenty of races, but I’ve only got one body”, he confesses to the audience.
The cameras also accompany nine-time world champion, Valentino Rossi, in what is to be his final season competing, culminating in that unexpected press conference where his farewell turns into an touching tribute to his thirty years devoted to the two wheels.
Produced by THE MEDIAPRO STUDIO in association with Dorna, ‘MotoGP Unlimited’ is an 8-part series, each episode lasting 50 minutes in almost eight hours of exclusive content featuring the riders falling in every imaginable way, while also recovering in record time. “They’re not made of rubber, they know how to fall, they know how to adapt. They manage their bodies very well”,” says the competition’s medical director, Ángel Charte, but the camera captures every indelible scar and bruise they carry, much like the bodies of bullfighters after each goring from the bulls.
The docuseries follows in the footsteps of many other quality sports content productions from Prime Video, including Simeone. Living Match by Match, Fernando, Six Dreams, Pau Gasol: It’s About the Journey, Sainz: Live to compete and the much-acclaimed All or Nothing series. Laura Fernández Espeso, Javier Méndez and Bernat Elías executive produce the series, directed by Arnau Monràs and Jaume García.