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19 days ago
By motogp.com

Criville’s journey to becoming a MotoGP™ Legend

Ahead of the 2016 Catalan GP where Alex Criville will be inducted as a MotoGP™ Legend take a look back on the Spaniards incredible career.

Alex Criville, who will be inducted as a MotoGP™ Legend at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya on Friday 3rd of June, was responsible for inspiring an entire nation. The Spaniard made his debut in the World Championship in 1987 racing in the now defunct 80cc class, scoring a podium in his very first race (2nd) at Jerez. In 1989 he made the step up full time to the 125cc class and lifted the title at his very first attempt, taking five victories along the way. He spent the next two seasons in the 250cc class, but did not win a race, before making the move up to the premier class in 1992 to ride for Sito Pons on a Honda NSR500.

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Assen 1992: Crivillé shines in the premier class

In just his debut season he became the first Spaniard to take a premier class victory at Assen. Then he made the move up to the factory Honda team to become Mick Doohan’s teammate for the 1994 season. As Doohan went on to lift five titles in a row between 1994 and 1998, Criville would turn out to be the perfect teammate. He finished as runner-up in 1996 to complete a championship 1-2 for Honda and was third in 1998, but it would be in 1999 that he would cement his legendary status.

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1999 Rio GP 500cc Highlights

Doohan’s career ending crash at the third race of the season in Spain left the door open for Criville, who went on to win six races that year on the way to becoming the first ever Spanish premier class World Champion at the penultimate race of the season in Brazil. Unfortunately he would never quite reach those heights again and a recurring illness, which affected him from 2000 onwards, led to his retirement at the end of the 2002 season.

During his career he started 193 GP’s, recorded 20 wins, 66 podiums and 12 pole positions. If that wasn’t enough he also singlehandedly brought an end to Spain’s barren run in the premier class and helped to inspire the next generation of Spanish riders who have dominated the championship in recent years.