Who replaces the departing Huewen as lead BT Sport MotoGP commentator?

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Picture: GeeBee Images

Keith Huewen’s departure from the BTSport MotoGP commentary box has caused a wave of speculation in the virtual paddock.

Not only as to why the former 500GP rider should be leaving just as a new contract with Dorna had been signed but who is going to take his place.

While no official announcement has been forthcoming Huewen, a family man with three daughters, explained via Twitter that having spent the last few years travelling round the world he felt it was time for a change. So while the question might be asked as to how BT could afford to lose someone of his calibre having just signed a new deal with Dorna there was obviously some degree of mutuality.

But who is going to be sitting alongside ex-WorldSBK Champion Neil Hodgson as they endeavour to inform an audience of a few hundred thousand - who can see what is going on but want to know why it is - and sometimes have to inject excitement into a race which has become a procession.

The description of a commentators job was given by Murray Walker, to whom the acronym GOAT certainly applies: ”You see a picture in front of you and it’s your job to interpret that picture for viewers at home and put what they are seeing into context with everybody else in the race. You use whatever words come into your head at the time. It’s not something you can think about.

“My target audience in my mind was not the dedicated dyed-in-the-wool knowledgeable anorak who would watch anything and listen to anything on the subject. It was the uncommitted, uninvolved and probably not very enthusiastic ordinary folk who were watching at home. I wanted to grip them by the throats and say ‘Hey look this is fantastic. I love it and you ought to love it too. And here’s why…’”

He was legendary for his mistakes although he would always describe them as prophecies which immediately turned out to be wrong adding: “I wouldn’t want to stop making those gaffes even if I could. People realise I am flesh and blood. I am not sensitive about it. It’s just my enthusiasm. I want to say so much more than I have time for.”

So who of our present bunch might have been thinking of stepping into Huewen’s shoes? One of the problems with two people in the box is accepting that each has a different role and eg’s can get in the way. When James Hunt retired from F1 he joined Waklker in the box. It ended in a punchup.

So it is likely to be someone well-known to BT bosses who will want a partner for Hodgson rather than a competitor, a bit like like James Whitham and Jack Burnicle on Eurosport. Therefore an insider is the best bet with, according to the grapevine, Gavin Emmett, an experienced broadcast journalist and MotoGP reporter with Dorna and BT, being the favourite.

With Suzi Perry highly -ikely to continue occupying the anchor role, whether at the circuit or the BT Tower, there remains a job to be done in the pit-lane and while Charlie ‘Paxman’ Hiscott, a refreshingly-brutal interviewer, will no doubt be appearing, what’s the betting that the gender balance will be fortified by a candidate from another BT Sport series.

And what of Huewen? “I am not retiring” is his firm assurance. “I will be at the trackside again soon.” That is when he has stopped shouting at the commentators about what they have missed.