Christina Bulpett |
Picture: GeeBee Images
Jorge Lorenzo officially became a MotoGP Legend on Saturday as he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the Jerez Circuit – Angel Nieto.
The five-time world champion became the 33rd inductee with a ceremony at the circuit where the final corner already bears his name, having amassed an impressive tally in the premier class – including 47 MotoGP victory’s across his 152 Grand Prix podium visits.
Having made his 125cc World Championship debut at Jerez in 2002, Lorenzo went on to win two 250cc titles before 2008 saw him arrive to the premier class as partner to Valentino Rossi in the factory Yamaha team. Two years later he was MotoGP Champion with a pattern of intense rivalries shaping his championship challenges with both Rossi, Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez. Two further titles gave way to difficult years at both Ducati and Honda before the Mallorca called time on his impressive career.
“I arrived here 20 years ago at this track to make my debut and I was still 14 on Friday,” Lorenzo recalled. “So, I went to watch at a few corners with a scooter and I saw the likes of Cecchinello, Ueda, Vincent, Pedrosa, Poggiali all riding. For me, they were heroes. And I saw them riding so aggressively and so fast, that I was wondering if someday I could arrive at that level.
“Now, I’m given the honor of becoming a MotoGP Legend from Dorna, from Carmelo, that have always treated me so well, and this means even more than the championships I won. Because all of the MotoGP Legends are great champions, but not all champions can be named as Legends, so I’m very proud to be part of this amazing group, these names. I’m so lucky, so grateful to have the life I have thanks to MotoGP.”
“Jorge has been something special for MotoGP,” CEO of Dorna Sports, Carmelo Ezpeleta added. “In my opinion, Jorge, first of all, is a fantastic person. He’s very emotional, he’s a friend, he’s a person who tried to do the maximum every time he did something, and he’s an incredible rider.
“For us, Jorge has been, in this generation, very, very special, who has allowed us to grow as we are growing. It’s a special moment for MotoGP and personally for me to say thanks to Jorge and to induct the 33rd Legend of MotoGP. He’s part of the most important riders in the history of MotoGP and I’m very proud to give him this award. Thank you Jorge.”
Max Biaggi and Hugh Anderson are also set to be inducted into the Hall of Fame later in the season, joining the illustrious list of current MotoGP Legends: Valentino Rossi, Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Daijiro Kato , Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Kenny Roberts Jr, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees, Carlo Ubbiali, Alex Crivillé, Franco Uncini, Marco Lucchinelli, Randy Mamola, Kork Ballington, Dani Pedrosa, Stefan Dörflinger, Jorge ‘Aspar’ Martinez, and the late Nicky Hayden.