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21 days ago
By motogp.com

Criville becomes a MotoGP™ Legend

As the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya begins, Spain’s first premier class world champion is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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Criville inducted as a MotoGP™ Legend at Catalan GP

In 1987 Alex Criville made his World Championship debut in the 80cc class and made an immediate impact, scoring second place in his first race. His path to glory was foreshadowed in 1989 when he made the move to race in the 125cc class full time, winning the title on his very first attempt. The Barcelona native then moved to the intermediate 250cc class but experienced two difficult seasons.

A move to the premier 500cc class in 1992 reignited Criville who took victory in Assen and became the first Spanish rider to win a 500cc class race. Two solid seasons with the Pons team earned him a place in the factory Honda squad, partnering Mick Doohan. The pair had a number of thrilling battles and between 1994 and 2001 Criville achieved 47 podiums including 14 victories.

Criville’s greatest achievement came in 1999 when he scored 267 points over 16 races to become Spain’s first premier class champion. This paved the way for all the Spanish champions who followed, Criville breaking the domination of American and Australian riders in the blue ribbon class.

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was there to present Alex Criville with his award. He joins a long list of greats that have been made MotoGP™ Legends that includes Giacomo Agostini, Mick Doohan, Geoff Duke, Wayne Gardner, Mike Hailwood, Nicky Hayden, Daijiro Kato, Eddie Lawson, Anton Mang, Angel Nieto, Wayne Rainey, Phil Read, Jim Redman, Kenny Roberts, Jarno Saarinen, Kevin Schwantz, Barry Sheene, Marco Simoncelli, Freddie Spencer, Casey Stoner, John Surtees and Carlo Ubbiali.

Alex Criville: “I enjoyed just riding bikes. It was not my dream to be a rider, because I was very young. But then my brother said: “You have the ability to ride a bike. Maybe in the future you can be a rider.” I think one of the best moments of my career was when I came back home, and there were thousand and thousand of people there celebrating my title. In that moment I was like a legend.

“I want to say thank you to Dorna for all their work over these years. I’m so happy; it’s great to join the best riders in history. It’s very nice to get it at home in front of my friends and family. After winning the championship in 99 I think this is the happiest moment, there are no words for what I’m feeling right now.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta: “For me personally and for everyone working in MotoGP it is a great pleasure to have Criville as a MotoGP Legend. Alex started in the championship before we started, but I’ve known him for many, many years. He always tries to do the best and he’s a person who never gives up. Together with Valentino Rossi he is the only person who has won 125 titles and 500 titles. It’s great to be here, we’ve been waiting all year for this. Myself and Dorna are very proud to give this award to Alex, he’s an icon around the world.”

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How Criville earned MotoGP™ Legend status